CNY Arts, which is creating arts districts in the cities of Auburn, Cortland, Oneida, Oswego and Syracuse, announced Thursday that it has hired a master planner for the initiative.

Lakota Group, of Chicago, will conduct the planning process for the districts through the end of 2018. Conceived to spur downtown revitalization, the districts will support nearby businesses in hospitality, service, tourism and other industries, CNY Arts said in a news release. Lakota Group’s plan will identify shovel-ready projects involving local arts and entertainment organizations that can generate tourism, tax revenue, job growth, infrastructure improvements, stabilization and quality-of-life experiences.

“I believe a designated arts district would be extremely helpful to Auburn for many reasons,” Auburn Public Theater Artistic Director Angela Daddabbo told The Citizen in 2017. “A designated arts district could help make the connection between (someone) visiting the Seward House Museum and visiting the Willard Memorial Chapel or the Schweinfurth Art Center or the Cayuga Museum or the Harriet Tubman Home, etc. The longer people stay and visit and have lunch and shop and spend the night in a hotel, the more the local economy benefits.”

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