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Community Revitalization Fund (CRF) Application Materials are outlined below. It is recommended for any community contemplating applying for these funds to contact the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism to discuss your project idea prior to completing an application. Please contact:

Kate O'Stricker | 716-938-2320 | Make an inquiry on the CRF form.

Table of Contents: Application Materials


        a. Signage
        b. Curb Appeal
        c. Showcase for Public Art


        Step 1 - Initial Inquiries
        Step 2 - View a Roger Brooks Video
        Step 3 - Submit Application
        Step 4 - Application Preliminary Review
        Step 5 - Application Review
        Step 6 - Award Notification
        Step 7 - Payment





"Naturally yours..." Community character, natural resources and beauty are Cattaraugus County's major assets. The distinctive character of the Cattaraugus County rural setting, its communities, and ethnic/cultural diversity has served as the catalyst for settlement. The future economic health of our communities depends upon maintaining that character and those assets.

The purpose of the Cattaraugus County Community Revitalization Fund (CRF) is to:

  • Assist our rural communities in improving and preserving the unique community character, heritage, and beauty of their community centers.

  • Provide an incentive for communities to initiate new or expand upon existing downtown revitalization or community beautification efforts.

  • Encourage community leaders to develop an overall "vision" that is tailor made for their community.

  • Build local capacity through training, sharing information, and developing a plan to sustain the local vision.

  • Encourage long-term community stewardship.

The visioning process can begin in any number of ways:

  • The vision can be launched by a specific project - the renovation of a historic landmark, building or waterfront.

  • The business community may step forward to take the lead to revitalize an entire block or commercial district.

  • A store owner's vision can take the form of a simple desire to restore a classic awning to his front window.

  • Artists and arts organizations can exhibit visionary talent, bringing the arts to dilapidated and/or vacant space in community areas.

  • A design team from a local university might help a community to see the various potential improvement projects.

Revitalization is a long-term commitment. A strong emphasis on public involvement can go a long way toward keeping that vision relevant in spite of changing conditions or turnover in local government administrations. A well thought out plan can keep the vision on track and provide methods to measure progress as projects move forward.

Revitalization of your community center involves capitalizing on your community's traditional strengths - historic architecture, pedestrian-friendly spaces, cultural events, and/or an active street life. Your community can achieve its own unique sense of place, its own identity by starting with a small project and investment.

Beautification: Worth the Investment



The Cattaraugus County Community Revitalization Fund supports a variety of local community downtown improvement activities and is focused in the following areas: Signage, Curb Appeal, and Public Art.

To learn more about what the activities in these areas might entail, the CRF requires that a community views at least one video developed by Roger Brooks of Destination Development that provides guidance and information as to how to improve a community's center. The County will assist the community in identifying the most appropriate video that best fits your needs. Videos may include the following:

  • 20 Ingredients of an Outstanding Downtown - Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3
  • Business and Community Signage
  • The Art of Developing a Wayfinding System
  • Power of Public Plazas

A well thought out plan is the key to starting any and all community improvements. The plan should outline an appropriate and consistent vision or theme that portrays the uniqueness and vitality of your community. First impressions are lasting impressions. What impression do you want for your community center?



Signage is a great investment. The goal of the Signage priority is to promote your downtown's businesses and attractions through appropriate and consistent/uniform signage. If a community is applying for Signage, a Plan is Required prior to grant approval. Also, the County reserves the right of approval for the final design of signage for a community.

Projects may include:

  • Wayfinding or directional signs
  • Decorative Pole Banners
  • Visitor Information - Kiosks or brochure racks
  • Merchant signs

Gateway or Welcome Signs Community Gateways provide the first impression of a community. With that intent, the County would like to give a free welcome sign to any community who is successful in obtaining Community Revitalization Funds. The sign will be designed and developed by the County for consistency throughout the area.

Wayfinding or Directional Signs will help visitors know where attractions and amenities are located, and it lets them know what you have to offer. While there are no specific recommendations for Wayfinding or directional signs, the following illustration is a good example of one. Learn more about these by viewing a Roger Brooks video.

Decorative Pole Banners can be a great marketing tool. Rules:

  • Make them colorful. Have them stand out, not blend into the trees.
  • Never use more than four words. People driving don't have time to read more than that.
  • Focus on experiences (activities), not buildings.
  • Use only one graphic image.
  • 1" high letters for every 12' of viewing distance.

Displays of Visitor Information (24/7, 365 days a year), such as kiosks or brochure racks. These displays may include:

  • Your community activities
  • Surrounding communities and their activities
  • Cattaraugus County information

Merchant signs- perpendicular "blade" signage to the street. Rules:

  • Make them consistent height and size
  • No lower than 7', no higher than 9' from the sidewalk
  • No wider than 42"



The goal of the Curb Appeal priority is the enhancement of your community's center or Main Street. The most important element of curb appeal is the softening of the transition of building facades and the sidewalk, not curbside street trees and landscaping.

Without beautification, your downtown is just another concrete wasteland. Every community center, no matter how big it is, should include trees (preferably deciduous), raised planters, large potted plants, and borders for annual color. Most of the beautification should include evergreen shrubs and plantings, enhanced with perennials and seasonal color. Plants and trees create shade and a resting place that provides a welcoming feeling.

Retail beautification is a critical component of Curb Appeal. Your merchants are essential partners in the community's plan for curb appeal. Besides word of mouth, shoppers typically have only curb appeal to help determine whether or not a shop is worth visiting. Although each merchant will wish to create their own curb appeal for their particular shop, the community will need to look at the overall look and feel for the block/downtown and consistency in facade treatment (awnings, paint, signs, etc.). Strict regulations are not necessary, but some oversight may be good policy. Consistency is key.

Projects may include:

  • Improving the facades of buildings (awnings, paint schemes, etc.)
  • Trees, planters, benches, trash receptacles



The goal of the Public Art priority is to showcase your community's artistic talent and provide beautification to areas of your community center that are more difficult to revitalize.

Projects may include:

  • Muralizing boarded up shops
  • Displays of public art in vacant store fronts
  • Sculptures erected in parks and public spaces
  • Decorative sidewalks - A process of stamping decorative designs into asphalt, called StreetPrint, can give you crosswalks in any color, design, and style you might like. It's not paint, and the road is ready to be driven as soon as they finish the process.



Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism is interested in working with communities that recognize and value the importance of improving and preserving their unique rural heritage and aesthetic character, but lack ample or sufficient capacity to act on it.

The Community Revitalization Fund is limited to:

  • Incorporated municipalities in Cattaraugus County, New York
  • Up to $5,000
  • Up to 50% of the total project cost
  • Dollar for dollar cash match (source of the matching funds is up to the discretion of the applicant)
  • A reimbursement of expenses

The Community Revitalization Fund will not fund:

  • Personnel expenses or salaries

Communities are required to:

  • Demonstrate local community support of, participation and involvement in the proposed activity
  • Document the commitment of matching funds
  • View at least one of the identified Roger Brooks videos

Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism will only consider projects that compliment the purpose, priorities and policies of the Community Revitalization Fund; encourage, foster, and rely upon local citizen participation; and build a consensus for any plan or vision that the community wishes to implement.

Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism will, however, make every effort to remain flexible in its review of applications, so it can respond to requests on a project-by-project basis.



Step 1: Initial Inquiries

It is strongly recommended for any community contemplating applying for these funds to contact the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism to discuss your project idea prior to completing an application. Please contact us with your questions about the CRF.

Step 2: View a Roger Brooks Video

Registration for viewing at least one Roger Brooks Video is required. A community must contact us about the CRF to schedule an appointment for viewing (different options will be available). The community will receive a Certificate of Attendance as evidence that they completed this requirement.

Step 3: Submit Application

Mail applications to:

Cattaraugus County Dept. of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism
Community Revitalization Fund
ATTN: Kate O'Stricker
303 Court Street
Little Valley, New York 14755

Email applications to: Kate O'Stricker,

Step 4: Application Preliminary Review

Your application will be screened to determine eligibility and compliance to guidelines. If additional information is required, you will be contacted.

Step 5 Application Review

Your application will be reviewed by the Community Revitalization Fund Committee. Final approval is subject to the action of the County Legislature.

Step 6: Award Notification

You will be contacted as to the approval or denial of your proposal.

Step 7: Payment

In order to receive the awarded grant funds, the successful community is required to submit copies of all expenses (invoices and proof of payment) for the total project cost indentified in the application. Submit copies to: Kate O'Stricker. After receipt of these documents, reimbursement in the amount specified in the application will be sent to you.



Project Title

Applicant Name & Address

Contact Person, Phone, Fax, and Email Address (If Applicable)

Project Location

Brief Description of Project

Problem or Need Being Addressed

Plan as To How the Problem Identified Will Be Addressed

How the Project or Activities Will Be Sustained

Community Support, participation, and involvement

  • Describe how the community will be involved in the project
  • Provide Names of Participating Organizations including Community Members and Businesses

How the Project Activities Fit into a Long Term Plan for Revitalization

Project Timetable (Start and End Dates)

One-Page Project Budget Showing Project Components and All Sources of Funding


  • Letter(s) or Resolution(s) of Commitment for Matching Funds
  • Specific plan for signage (if project involves signage); an overall plan for improvements is suggested
  • Copy of Certificate of Attendance for at least one of Roger Brooks Videos



  • Discussed project with Cattaraugus County CRF Contact
  • Incorporated Municipality in Cattaraugus County
  • Requesting funds for acceptable purpose as described in the application materials
  • Requesting funds not exceeding $5,000
  • Requesting funds not exceeding 50% of the total project cost
  • Committed and documented (by letter or resolution) a local cash of at least 50% of the total project cost
  • Described local community support of, participation and involvement in the proposed activity
  • Obtained and submitted a copy of the Certificate of Attendance for viewing at least one of the required Roger Brooks videos
  • Submitted a plan for signage (if applicable)
  • Submitted a Completed Application with required attachments



The Cattaraugus County Community Revitalization Fund can provide the initial start of improving your downtown, albeit in a small way. In developing a comprehensive vision for your community, continue to think about your community's:

  • Overall appeal
  • Enticement from freeways and highways (signs, billboards, something that would get a visitor to stop)
  • Beautification and overall curb appeal
  • Wayfinding (ease of getting around)
  • Visitor amenities (public restrooms, visitor information, parking)
  • Retail mix (lodging, dining, shopping)
  • Customer service
  • Pedestrian friendliness
  • Gathering spaces
  • Activities
  • Area attractions
  • Evening activities
  • Availability of marketing materials and their effectiveness


The following reference guides can assist you in defining your vision and guide your community investment:

Roger Brooks - Destination Development International

Cattaraugus County hired Destination Development International to perform community assessments within the County. The Assessments listed below are available by contacting the County CRF contact.

  • Assessment Findings & Suggestions - Cattaraugus County, NY August 2007
  • (Includes Gowanda, Dayton, South Dayton, Randolph, New York's Amish Trail)
  • Assessment Findings & Suggestions - Onoville Marina, New York July 2007
  • Assessment Findings & Suggestions - Salamanca, New York July 2008
  • Assessment Findings & Suggestions - Olean, New York July 2008
  • (Includes Portville, Allegany, Town of Olean, City of Olean, and Weston Mills)
  • Marketing & Brand Assessment for the Seneca Nation October 2009

Find the reports above on the Assessments & Workshops page.

Cattaraugus County's Smart Development for Quality Communities Guidebook Series

The county has multiple hard copies of the Smart Development for Quality Communities Guidebooks. Please contact the county CRF contact for your copy today!

  • Volume 1: Elements of a Countywide Vision
  • Volume 2: A Design Guidebook for Towns and Villages in Cattaraugus County
  • Volume 3: Saving Our Villages
  • Volume 4: A new Vision for Outdoor Recreation Trails in Cattaraugus County
  • Volume 5: Summary and Market Analysis for Communities in the Perimeter of Allegany State Park
  • Volume 7: Economic Development Strategy - Linkages Between Allegany State Park and Nearby Communities
  • Volume 8: Growing the Equestrian Economy in Cattaraugus County

View the Guidebooks for "Smart Development for Quality Communities" online

Keep America Beautiful

The nation's largest community improvement network -


The Cattaraugus County Community Revitalization Fund is only one source of funding to assist your community in revitalizing your downtown. The following sources of funding can assist you in implementing the larger projects of your vision:

Sustainable Communities-

  • Brownfield Area-Wide Planning Grants


  • Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities


  • National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program


New York Main Street Program-

Transportation Alternatives Program-

TAP provides funding for programs and projects for pedestrian and bicycle facilities; safe routes to school projects; historic preservation; environmental mitigation; and other infrastructure improvements to the transportation system.

Western Region Corporation - Downtown Revitalization Loan Fund at