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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • City to launch study of housing stock

  • The City of Corning has hired consultants and is preparing to launch a study on ways to upgrade the city's aging housing stock.

    The City Council's newly formed Housing Strategy Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to kick off the study.
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  • The City of Corning has hired consultants and is preparing to launch a study on ways to upgrade the city's aging housing stock.
    The City Council's newly formed Housing Strategy Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to kick off the study.
    The public is encouraged to attend, said Councilman Bill Boland. He's chairing the committee, which also includes councilmen Ross Cavallero and Steve Maio.
    "About 70 percent of our housing stock was built before 1960," Boland said. "We need updated housing to retain the folks that we have here, and to make it attractive for new families to come in and live in the city."
    The city has hired two consulting firms, New Paltz-based Fairweather Consulting and Albany-based Clough Harbor, to conduct a detailed survey of the city's housing stock, Boland said.
    The city will spend approximately $45,000 on the study, he said.
    The study will likely look at major projects on the horizon, such as the redevelopment of the Corning Hospital site on Denison Parkway, which is expected to be razed after the new hospital opens in East Corning this summer.
    Northside Blodgett Middle School is also viewed as a possibility to be redeveloped into housing when it closes in June as part of the Corning-Painted Post School District's consolidation/facilities upgrade.
    Plans are already in place to renovate the other middle school, Corning Free Academy, into upscale apartments.
    The study will also take a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at housing conditions, Boland said.
    "There's some blight creeping into some of the neighborhoods," said City Manager Mark Ryckman. "Over the years, we've done a number of things through code enforcement to address blight, but the housing stock is certainly aging."
    Possible ways to improve conditions include tax incentives, grant programs, and zoning changes, Ryckman said.
    The study will try to determine what types of housing are most needed in the city, from apartments for single young professionals to affordable senior housing.
    "We'll look at how to provide a housing mix that people are looking for, because people's preferences have changed over the decades," Ryckman said. "In order to stay a vibrant community, you need to provide the housing choices people are looking for. The consultant will help us identify those things."
    The consultant will work with the city's housing committee to develop recommendations to bring to the full City Council, Boland said.
    "We need to have action steps," Boland said. "We can't just have broad statements. We need to have something that's actionable, so this study isn't something that ends up on the shelf."
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