April 2, 2009, Press Release: State Announces New Lower Hudson Valley/Catskills Smart Growth Grant Program

News From New York State Department of State

News from New York State Department of State

For more information contact: Joel Barkin 212-417-5803, Lauren Rivera, 518-474-4752

Secretary of State Announces New Lower Hudson Valley Smart Growth Grant Program

Grants to go towards regional and municipal planning projects

ALBANY, NY (04/01/2009; 1031)(readMedia)– Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez today announced the release of a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Lower Hudson Valley Smart Growth Grant Program. The NYS Department of State (DOS) is offering a total of $500,000 for regional and municipal planning projects that revitalize centers (cities, hamlets, town and village commercial centers); reduce automobile dependence and gas consumption; fight sprawl; and address the growth and development patterns anticipated from the Tappan Zee Bridge project and the Stewart Airport expansion.

The Lower Hudson Valley component covers all of Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Westchester counties, and the southern townships of Ulster County (Gardiner, Lloyd, Marlborough, Plattekill, Shawangunk and Wawarsing). New York State Smart Growth funds have been used to promote projects in specific regions of the state that are confronting various growth management challenges. As part of Governor Paterson’s commitment to Smart Growth in New York, last year the State committed funds for the Central Catskills Initiative to revitalize centers along the Route 28 Corridor in Ulster County.

First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson, Chair of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadracentennial Celebration, said: "The quadracentennial celebration is more than a celebration of the past; it’s also an opportunity to set a course for the future of the region. Smart Growth planning will help ensure a sustainable, livable Hudson River Valley for another 400 years. Smart Growth is critical if we are to revitalize our city, town and hamlet centers and protect the valuable natural resources that contribute to the tremendous quality-of-life that characterizes the region."

Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez said: "Smart Growth can promote environmental, economic and fiscal sustainability in the Hudson Valley. Unmanaged sprawl could diminish the quality-of-life that makes the lower Hudson Valley such an attractive place to live, work, play and raise a family. Smart Growth is not a one-size-fits-all formula that can be imposed from the top-down. It’s a bottom-up process that must cater to the unique needs and growth management challenges of each of New York’s distinct regions."

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said: "The state’s Smart Growth Grants program — based on the belief that environmental protection and sustainable development can and must go hand-in-hand – has been very successful and popular with communities seeking planning assistance to address quality-of-life issues. Local governments in the Hudson Valley face challenging circumstances. Through this grant program, the state can help them deal with such issues as sprawl, ‘green’ infrastructure needs, downtown improvement projects and sustainable job creation."

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash said: "The Smart Growth program is an important part of the effort to protect and preserve the dwindling open space in this naturally rich area of the state. Although pressured by rapid development, this region is home to stunning state parks that offer its residents countless recreational opportunities. We can preserve and expand those opportunities for generations to come by adopting and supporting environmentally sound smart growth policies and projects."

New York State Department of Transportation Executive Deputy Commissioner Stanley Gee said: "Smart growth planning that considers both land-use and transportation goals can significantly improve an area’s economic viability and livability. The major projects, such as the Tappan Zee bridge replacement, that the state Department of Transportation is advancing in the lower Hudson Valley will greatly enhance safety and mobility and will complement local growth plans."

Environmental Defense Fund General Counsel Jim Tripp said: "With the State planning some major transportation and economic development projects in the Lower Hudson Valley, and a slow-down in the torrid pace of real estate development, this is an opportune time for the State to undertake a smart growth planning initiative in conjunction with Lower Hudson Valley counties and towns. The hope is that this effort could help to alter the future landscape of this vital region with the goals of preserving tens of thousands of additional acres of critical land resources, intensifying transit-oriented, mixed-use development with walking and biking amenities and reducing global warming carbon dioxide emissions, vehicular miles traveled (VMT) and congestion. This could become a model for similar landscape revisioning efforts in metropolitan areas throughout the United States."

Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said: "Scenic Hudson’s top priority of saving land and creating parks that connect people with the beauty and inspiration of the Hudson is enhanced by well-planned growth in downtown areas. We applaud Secretary Cortés-Vázquez and the Paterson administration for initiating this important program. This will help preserve land and our quality of life, while it spurs downtown revitalization – luring businesses and residents. This is great news for the valley during the state’s Quadracentennial year."

The RFA released today by the Department of State states: "The Lower Hudson Valley can be a model for Smart Growth. The region possesses tremendous natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities, as well as several distinctive municipal centers and hamlets. At the same time, the region is also experiencing rapid growth and development that will be accelerated by the advent of three major state infrastructure improvement projects – Stewart Airport, Tappan Zee Bridge, and Route 17/I-86. This growth will either threaten or enhance the quality-of-life in the region, depending upon the way it is planned."

Smart Growth is sensible, planned growth that balances the need for economic development with the need to preserve and enhance the built and natural environments. Smart Growth promotes compact, mixed-use development, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, neighborhood parks, open space preservation, affordable workforce housing and "green" building design.

The DOS oversees the Governor’s Smart Growth Cabinet, administers the Governor’s Smart Growth Grant Program Fund and coordinates most of the state’s planning functions. The Smart Growth program has already targeted funds to the Adirondack Park and parts of the Central Catskill Mountains.

The RFA is available on-line at the DOS website – www.dos.state.ny.us – or by calling (518) 473-3355 or e-mailing localgov@dos.state.ny.us. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2009. Municipalities and Not-for-Profits are eligible to apply.


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