North James Street in the city of Oneida has a new look thanks to a New York Main Street grant for the City Center Revitalization Program through the Homes and Community Renewal agency. This project was made possible through a funded application submitted by the Department of Planning and Development in 2016.
The before-and-after differences are striking. Where previously there was just a small island of patchy grass and traffic signs, now a lighted overhead sign welcomes you to historic downtown Oneida, while benches surrounded by attractive plantings provide the perfect spot to sit and relax for a few minutes. Large flower- and shrub-filled planters line the west side of James and lead you directly to the corner of Madison Street in the heart of the downtown area.
Several local firms provided excellent services and expertise for the project: Raulli Iron Works, Inc., fabricated and installed the overhead arched sign; Blocks & Rocks supplied hardscape and landscape materials; Debrucque Greenhouses provided the planters filled with greenery and John Carrier’s Green Image Landscaping worked their magic to transform it into an aesthetically pleasing site that feels comfortable as well as special.
Oneida’s Engineering Department and DPW staff assisted in multiple aspects, from ensuring proper site work preparation to adding the solar lights on the sign posts. City Hall maintenance staff provided additional support help, as did the Office of the Comptroller.
“The new little James Street gateway to Oneida is absolutely beautiful,” said Mayor Leo Matzke. “The flowers add to the beauty, and the iron welcoming gate is indicative of how the city of Oneida is entering into a new era. If you get a chance, come in and enjoy.”
Building rehabilitation activities are also happening at 153-155 Madison St. This is part of a larger project to transform the former Lerman Furniture building into a mixed-use structure that will be a combination of retail space and market rate apartments.
These are only two of an ongoing series of planned improvement projects that will be coming to the downtown, thanks to Matzke and the Common Council for their continued support in revitalizing the community.