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National Grid Economic Development Programs Revitalize Downtown Watertown

Nov 16, 2023 - 08:52 AM


Upstate NY



WATERTOWN, N.Y. — Everywhere you look in Downtown Watertown, you see National Grid. Stand in Lachenauer Plaza, at the junction of Arsenal and Court Streets, and evidence of the company’s economic development programs are on display in the form of newly renovated buildings, rehabilitated properties, and a revitalized business corridor fitting of a small city on the rise.

The classic hub-and-spoke style Public Square adjacent to Lachenauer Plaza is the heart of the community, uniting residents of and travelers to and from the 1000 Islands region and Canada, Fort Drum and the whole of Northern New York. Since 2020, National Grid has invested nearly $1.5 million in grants to support businesses and building owners in this historic area of the city.

“We see Watertown’s thriving downtown as a model for small cities across New York state,” said Alberto Bianchetti, National Grid’s regional director of customer and community engagement. “Our investments in the area around the Public Square have contributed to a stronger local economy and healthier community that everyone in the city can take pride in.”

National Grid incentives were part of a significant investment in Watertown’s renaissance. New York state awarded the city funds as part of its Downtown Revitalization Initiative project in 2017. The city’s downtown streetscape project was implemented as part of the DRI, improving walkability, aesthetics and quality of life.

“Our economic development programs enable growth, and job creation and retention. The projects we have funded in the Public Square area have rehabilitated storefronts, removed hazardous materials, and underwritten the service connections,” Bianchetti said.

The largest investment from National Grid was made in the new Watertown Family YMCA facility at 146 Arsenal St. The company provided two grants totaling $550,000 for the project – a Brownfield Redevelopment grant to remediate asbestos and PCBs located on the property, and a Main Street Revitalization grant to support construction and sitework. The 89,000-square-foot YMCA, scheduled to open in December 2023, will offer expanded childcare and wellness facilities and a competition-quality aquatics center.

A redesign and expansion of the aforementioned Lachenauer Plaza will benefit from a $250,000 investment from National Grid’s Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization program. Dedicated in memory of the late William Lachenauer, former mayor of Watertown, ground was broken in June 2022 and work is concluding on the overall project.

Additionally, National Grid has provided funding for historic preservation or renovation to 259 J.B. Wise Place, Brighton-Empsall Building, Court Street Commons, J.B. Wise Building, Lincoln Building, and the Northern New York Community Foundation building. Each of these grants were provided through National Grid’s Main Street Revitalization program. This incentive provides matching grants to eligible property owners, municipalities and nonprofit development corporations undertaking efforts to revitalize critical main streets and commercial corridors. Incentives may also fund energy efficiency, renewable energy delivery and/or productivity improvements that stimulate public and private investment.

National Grid was recently named a 2023 Top Utility in Economic Development by Site Selection magazine. The publication cited the company’s body of work and specifically recognized its efforts in upstate New York.

“National Grid is committed to building a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy system for all — and a major part of that commitment is elevating the growth and vitality of the communities where we live and work,” said Arthur Hamlin, Director of Economic Development, National Grid. “We’re powering our local and regional economies with strategic investments and incentive programs that fuel business development, create in-demand jobs, enhance clean energy infrastructure, and provide better opportunities for communities to attract and advance innovation.”

Since 2003, National Grid’s 18 economic development programs have provided more than $145 million in assistance, helping to create or retain more than 65,000 jobs and supporting almost $10.5 billion in private and public investment across upstate New York. More information about National Grid’s suite of programs is available at

About National Grid

National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York and Massachusetts. National Grid is focused on building a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy future — transforming our networks with more reliable and resilient energy solutions to meet state climate goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information, please visit our website, follow us on X (formerly Twitter), watch us on YouTube, like us on Facebook and find us on Instagram.

Media Contacts

Jared Paventi

Syracuse (Central NY)

(315) 427-1092

Send an email to Contact 1

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