Economic Development Update

The Seneca Falls Development Corporation is committed to pursuing economic development within Seneca Falls. Through a progressive plan that begins with fostering existing area businesses, we want to strengthen our Town’s appeal from the inside out.

From being recognized as the birthplace of Women’s Rights to its once-dominant presence in manufacturing, Seneca Falls was long regarded as a place of progress. Yet over time, just as many small towns experienced, the once-busy manufacturing plants grew dormant. Large employers vacated for foreign lands and the economic downturn took its toll, stifling industrial, commercial and residential growth.

Today, our dedicated team is working to recapture the town’s history of progress by bringing economic development to the forefront. The underlying strategy? Build the future by embracing the past.

Every holiday season, thousands of people from across the country come to Seneca Falls to celebrate Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which featured the town of Bedford Falls. A fictitious town that is long believed to be inspired by Capra’s visit to Seneca Falls in years prior. In 2016, the town will host the “Bailey Kids,” as each of the children featured in the movie will be available for discussions and reminiscing. Townspeople dressed as characters from the movie will walk along the downtown streets and dozens of activities centered around the iconic film will take place throughout the highly anticipated weekend.

The town knows that the good old days represented in “It’s a Wonderful Life” don’t have to remain a distant memory. As Seneca Falls works to stimulate growth in industrial, commercial, and residential facets of life, it’s already seen a number of encouraging signs to build upon.

Aside from the annual celebrations and events that already attract people to the town, Seneca Falls is also the home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Benefiting from several grants, the Hall of Fame is on track to relocate into a $20 million renovation of the historic Seneca Knitting Mill. Within its Center for Great Women, the Hall will reignite the passion for showcasing and preserving the history of women’s achievements, with an ultimate goal of inspiring and supporting future generations.

Seneca Falls is also prepared to welcome Five Star Medical Corporation, a global medical device company, which announced that they will soon be headquartered in Seneca Falls. Five Star will be renovating a historic building on State Street to house a $5-6 million manufacturing facility that will employ 50 people.

Longley Jones Management Corporation, a real estate firm out of Syracuse, New York, recently purchased the former Seneca Falls Hospital and adjacent vacant town municipal building on Van Cleef Lake. With plans to renovate the buildings and create upscale apartment units, the public green space and walking trails will be incorporated for use by local residents and visitors.

Downtown Seneca Falls is seeing a renewed interest in cultivation and several grants are being pursued to help the town expand its reach while retaining its charm. While the town is driven by a stance of progress, it recognizes that its small-town appeal must never be compromised.

As the team works to revitalize downtown, cultivate other commercial areas, stimulate tourism growth, and implement a wide range of marketing and promotional programs, the footprints of the past are destined to be incorporated. The town has a long list of homegrown historical figures to make proud, and stimulating economic growth through the inspiration of their own achievements will continue to be a driving force.

We look forward to updating our progress via this website and what you see here today is only the beginning. Within the next several months, this site will become a portal for visitors, residents, and businesses alike. All with one common mission…to showcase everything Seneca Falls has to offer and share everything we’re doing to embrace and improve our Town.

Seneca Falls Development Corporation Completes Findings Report

The Seneca Falls Development Corporation (SFDC) announced today that it has completed its 2017 Findings Report following a meeting of interested community members.

Intended to foster a more traditional approach to economic development planning, the Findings Report provides a general overview of the statistics, conditions, opportunities, and influences relevant to Seneca Falls.

“It essentially shows us what we have to work with and where the trends are heading,” says SFDC Director, Greg Zellers. “Without it, it’s difficult to assess our situation and create a viable plan of action to address our current and future needs.”

The updated 2017 Findings Report combined significant sets of data from a wide range of resources, including:

  • The Town and Village of Seneca Falls Comprehensive Plan
  • Multiple interviews with regional economic development organizations, tourism professionals, university representatives, State economic development and labor officials, industry trade groups, and local business leaders.
  • Extensive research relating to emerging technologies, innovative public-private partnerships, tourism enhancements, effective marketing techniques, demographics, population shifts, labor trends, and tax incentive programs.
  • Case studies of successful revitalization efforts in similarly-affected towns and municipalities.

Rewriting the Findings Report was the first step in the SFDC’s goal of updating the Seneca Falls Economic Development Plan. To coincide with emerging residential trends and progressive shifts in the overall commercial climate, the 2017 Findings Report has been expanded to provide a more localized view of Seneca Falls.

“An updated plan is often required to be eligible for regional, state, and federal grants,” shared Zellers, “and the decision makers behind the programs we intend to pursue must see that the opportunities align with our existing plan. At present, our Town’s Economic Development Plan is ten years old and significantly behind the times, which is why we’ve made it a priority to get every component updated.”

Once completed, the updated Economic Development Plan will be the anchor behind efforts to pursue grant funding for a wide range of State- and Federally-funded projects, including infrastructure improvements, downtown revitalization initiatives, business attraction campaigns, site remediation programs, tourism marketing, regional partnerships, and improved quality of place.

As an excerpt from the 2017 Findings Report explained:

The landscape of small town living has changed. Not only for residents, but for the commercial and industrial interests that help our town thrive. The purpose of this Findings Report isn’t to make suggestions or recommendations. It’s meant to provide a summary of details, data, and case studies so that planning can continue and ideas for growth can be formed.

Not all of the information provided herein is scientific. Nor is all the information rooted in statistics. Instead, it also includes concepts that have worked for small towns in similar situations, and actions that have helped reverse downward trends caused by industry abandonment.”

SFDC Chair, Joell Murney-Karsten, added “While the new plan will help guide the strategies, projects, and initiatives we pursue, change can’t happen without action. It’s time that we all become more aggressive in that pursuit. We need to embrace revitalization efforts and become empowered by the progressive history that once drove Seneca Falls to prominence. The Findings Report brings us one step closer to this end goal.”