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Welcome to Cambridge NYF!

Cambridge will receive $2.25 million in funding as one of the Capital Region's winner of NY Forward funding!

New York State's NY Forward (NYF) grant program is the cornerstone of the State's economic development program. The NYF program is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, and economic and housing diversity. These compact, walkable downtowns are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State’s bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles.

About Cambridge

The Village of Cambridge is a rural community of approximately 1,800 people, in bucolic southern Washington County. Its landscape is formed by rolling hills dotted with working farms, picturesque hamlets and scenic views of the Adirondacks and Taconic mountains of New York and Green Mountains of Vermont. It is an historic settlement, founded in 1761, with two mile-long main arteries, Main Street and Park Street, sporting historic houses, shops, businesses, community gathering places, and the regional public K-12 school.  The Village is compact, walkable, and contains enough key attractions to encourage people to live in the Village.  Part of the Village’s charm is its lack of sprawl.  

In many ways Cambridge is a cultural mecca for the area—a magnet for artists and crafts people—a vibrant creative economy—enriching the lives of individuals and the community—entertaining, stimulating creativity and providing an outlet to explore complex ideas and feelings related to the past, present and future. 

The Village has chosen the Owlkill Commons for NY Forward support because not only does it speak to the community’s longstanding vision and goals for its future, but it builds on a

confluence of synergies and assets and is ripe for public-private partnership. We have momentum but NY Forward is the catalyst needed to comprehensively transform this neighborhood into a magnet for residents and visitors alike.

The OwlKill Commons is historically significant. First, the Owl Kill itself is named for Soquon, The Owl, a chieftain known as a Great Uniter of the Mohicans in the 16th and 17th centuries who resided locally. Second, the seed industry which has remained a staple in Cambridge’s economy up to present day, gained its footing in the Commons in the late 1800s with the construction of the J. B. Rice Seed complex–reputed to be the world’s second largest seed company in the early 20th Century.   Today, Bentley Seed Company, just south of the Commons, carries on the tradition as does Cambridge Pacific (near the Village’s southern border) which has grown to be the largest supplier of seedpacket envelopes in the US.  Finally, the Owlkill Commons is within the Village’s Historic District.  Five structures within were noted as Exceptional in the inventory nomination form.1  Their placement, visibility and architectural features (be they Empire, Classical Revival or High Victorian Italianate) are intact and collectively character-defining for the community.

The NYF Boundary

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Vision:

“The revitalized ‘Owlkill Commons’ aspires to create a thriving and accessible hub in the Village of Cambridge that will be a center of economic, social, and cultural activity for our rural region. Our community will be a place where commerce, industry, agriculture, nature, and the arts come together for the benefit of diverse people of all ages and abilities.”

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Goals​:

 Expand housing options

  • Support the provision of high-quality rental units, especially those well-suited for young adults and families.

  • Enable new construction infill homes where possible, especially those for low-income or workforce.

Encourage commerce and amenities that attract people of all ages

  • Attract and support small businesses that fill key gaps in the public activation of downtown – i.e., a coffee shop, or late afternoon meal service.

  • Focus efforts on job creation and retention.

Foster the connections between our business district and recreational offerings

  • Enhance the physical interface between commercial activities and recreational activities by co-locating complimentary programs – e.g., juice bar next to a trailhead.

  • Cross-promote local businesses and recreation opportunities through signage, advertising, and programming.

Create quality gathering and play spaces

  • Make use of currently underutilized and disinvested space to provide a range of gathering spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

  • Bring inviting open play spaces for all ages to the Owlkill Commons. 

 

Expand walkability of the Village

  • Reduce the dominance of the automobile on Main St thru traffic calming interventions such as bulb-outs and bioswale curbs.

  • Develop network of off-road walking trails to tie various points of interest together without the need for a car trip.

Revitalize, enhance, and celebrate the unique historic fabric of the community

  • Reactivate currently underutilized historic structures with needed residential, commercial, and community spaces and programming.

Questions? Comments?

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