Frequently Asked Questions

Questions that are submitted to regarding the CNY Arts: Arts & Entertainment Districts and Master Planner RFP are published here within 2 business days of submission. The deadline for all questions has been extended to April 4, 2018. 


To whom should I address my proposal? 

You may address your proposal documents to:
Stephen Butler, Executive Director
CNY Arts, Inc.
421 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY 13202 


Are physical copies of RFP responses required to be mailed, or is submission digital (PDF) only?

We would like submissions via email only please. Please submit to


Is the deadline of April 9th time-sensitive (i.e.; April 9 end of day versus 3PM)? 

Deadline is 11:59 PM EST on April 9. 


Can you define the term “shovel-ready?” is it used in the RFP to describe both bricks and mortar cultural real estate development projects and also initiatives/efforts that are more about organization, events, etc.?

Shovel-ready is to identify projects, initiatives, real estate development, renovation, etc. that may be partly or fully underway. We hope to leverage the initiatives and projects that have some backing or momentum behind them as opposed to creating all new initiatives or capital projects from scratch in the first round.  


Can you tell us what you mean by the term “blueprint?”

This is the design plan and geographical territory outline of the districts and the cultural assets within them. 


Has CNY Arts convened any advisory groups in each of these geographic areas? How does CNY Arts envision that local stakeholders in each of these cities will be involved? What is the relationship between local stakeholders and CNY Arts?

In 2013, CNY Arts conducted a regional 10-year cultural plan and assessment called ENGAGE CNY. You may learn more about the process and results here: Through this process, CNY Arts established many connections through a Leadership Advisory Council of non-arts sector professionals who identified Main Street Revitalization as a priority the arts industry could assist with. A&E Districts emerged from this plan and were included in the Central New York Upstate Revitalization Initiative Final Plan thanks to the endorsement of multiple stakeholders including many mayors and county executives in the CNY region.


Cultural Mapping (Goal #6) indicates the consultant will assist localities in identifying cultural assets…what is the extent of assistance envisioned here?  Is the consultant expected to do surveys identifying historic, vacant and underutilized properties in addition to cultural assets?  Provide overall criteria only? Prepare actual maps?

The consultant would identify all the cultural assets and historic, vacant and underutilized properties within and nearby the potential districts borders. Emphasis ( primarily focus) is on the cultural assets currently in operation, historic properties both and landmarks (i.e. public art). Projects that are "shovel ready" within the districts  (i.e. restoring a vacant historical building; creating pop up space in an store front). We have a cultural assets list that was updated in 2013 through ENGAGE CNY. In order to draw boundaries for the districts, it would be helpful to see these cultural assets - including potential assets - on an electronic or physical map.  


Are there additional funds for items such as travel, PR and outreach, and convenings?

Yes, there are additional funds beyond the $70,000 for convenings, travel, printing/materials, and marketing/outreach/promotion up to $20,000.


Is there staff assigned specifically to this project to assist the planner in this process?

Yes, CNY Arts will provide an assistant (Emerging Leaders in the Arts Fellow) to support and assist the Planner(s) for a maximum of 20 hours per week. 


If one of the members of the consultant team is a New York-based firm, how important is it that the lead consultant be an NYS firm?

All applicants are welcome to apply regardless of where they are located. Due to the fact that this funding comes from the State of New York, additional points will be given to consultants or firms that are New York State based. Points are not deducted for being out-of-state.


Since nonprofits do not qualify as MWBE firms, would a nonprofit that is led and staffed mostly by members of minority groups and women be given the same consideration as an MWBE firm?

In order to receive M/WBE (Minority / Women Business Enterprises) priority points, firms or consultants must be certified and listed on the NYS MWBE Directory of Certified Firms: Organizations, individuals, or firms not listed on this directory will not receive the M/WBE priority points. 


The RFP asks for expertise in zoning, but are you looking for the consultant to do land use planning as well as cultural planning?

We do not anticipate land use planning to be part of the first phase of this project. Land use regulations expertise would be a plus, but is not a requirement or pre-requisite.


Do you need formal planning experience or a degree in planning to be considered?

It is not a prerequisite; however, the selection criteria does take into consideration applicants that have completed projects of similar scope or scale.


Will the hiring committee consider a consortium or workgroup of individuals?

Applications will be reviewed and considered from consortiums or individuals. We will need information for all individuals involved if they are not incorporated as one entity. 


How must the $70,000 Consultant Fee be spent?

Proposals can propose to spend the $70,000 however they see fit. The hiring committee will evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and eligibility of the expenses listed in the proposal budget. All budgets are, and will be, subject to final approval of CNY Arts and the Empire State Development Corporation. There are additional funds from CNY Arts for convenings, printing/materials, marketing/outreach, etc. that can be accessed by the Consultant. In addition, CNY Arts will provide one part-time assistant for the Consultant to utilize.