State to Collaborate With Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize Downtown Middletown
Mid-Hudson Project Will Transform Downtown Middletown, Create Jobs and Boost Local Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Downtown Middletown was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the Mid-Hudson region. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative, first laid out in the Governor’s 2016 State of the State address, marks a comprehensive plan to transform local neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live and work.
The winner was selected as part of a competitive process by the Mid-Hudson’s Regional Economic Development Council and will receive $10 million in state funding to revitalize the local neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity. The award will include up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a Strategic Investment Plan that will identify specific economic development, transportation, and housing and community projects. The grant is part of a $100 million effort to improve the urban vitality of city centers across the state. Plans will be completed by early 2017.
“Over the past six years, our Regional Councils have played an integral role in generating economic opportunity in communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will build on that momentum by investing in local assets to attract jobs, private investment and transform downtown areas into vibrant, diverse and economically active hubs. This investment will bolster Middletown’s growing businesses and educational institutions and continue the city’s economic renaissance for years to come.”
The City of Middletown
The City of Middletown is growing as a result of new and expanding businesses and educational institutions in and around the City. Prominent examples include the repurposing of the new home of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Middletown Community Health Center, the redevelopment of the former Middletown State Psychiatric Hospital property in the Middletown Community Campus and the new Clemson Brewery. Middletown’s compact, walkable, mixed-use downtown, is poised to become the area’s primary central business district destination for the expanding, culturally diverse, population. Under the DRI, Middletown will build on recent public and private investments to create a truly vibrant, year-round downtown that serves as the economic, civic and cultural center of the community.
Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is chaired by former New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, along with a team of planners from the Department of State and private sector experts, with support from Empire State Development, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and other state agencies.
Each Regional Council weighed seven criteria in selecting their nominee:
- The targeted neighborhood should be compact and well-defined.
- The downtown, or its center, should be of a size sufficient to support an active, year-round downtown and should have a sizeable existing or increasing population within easy reach for whom this would be the primary downtown.
- The downtown should capitalize on prior, and catalyze future, private and public investment in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
- There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable
- The downtown must contain properties or characteristics that contribute or that could contribute, if enhanced, to the attractiveness and livability of the downtown, including the presence of developable mixed-use spaces, housing at different levels of affordability and type, commercial and retail main street businesses, including healthy and affordable food markets, walkability and bikeability, and public parks and gathering spaces
- The downtown should contain or articulate how it can create policies that enhance quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes, complete streets plans, or transit-oriented development; and
- Local and community support must exist for revitalization of the downtown. There must be a commitment among local leaders and stakeholders to build and implement a strategic investment plan for the downtown.
“Governor Cuomo's unprecedented Downtown Revitalization Initiative acknowledges that thriving urban centers are key to changing attitudes and bringing people back to our communities," said Regional Economic Development Chair Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “I have seen first-hand how revitalizing one downtown can be transformative for an entire region. With support from the Regional Council, that's exactly what we expect will happen here.”
“I congratulate these communities for their tremendous efforts and winning proposal,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “These areas are ripe for revitalization and this initiative will make these neighborhoods more livable and attract new residents, workers and visitors to the downtown, providing opportunity for job creation and economic growth. The Department of State is looking forward to working with the winning downtowns, many of whom we have shared successes with in years past.”
“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is another example of Governor Cuomo’s innovative approach to economic development,” said James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “By building on existing assets, including high-quality housing that incorporates retail and other conveniences for people at a variety of income levels, we will help downtowns reach their full potential as attractive, affordable places to live and work. Congratulations to the 10 communities that put their best foot forward to win this funding. I look forward to seeing the results.”
“It was a pleasure working with all of the Regional Economic Development Councils throughout this community-driven process,” said Cesar A. Perales, Chair of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. “The REDC members had a very difficult task in making their selections among the many strong candidates in each region. My thanks to the REDCs and my congratulations to the winning communities.”
Regional Economic Development Councils
Round VI of the REDC initiative will award more than $750 million in state funding and tax incentives. In 2016, all 10 REDCs will be competing for a designation as a Top Performer. Five Top Performers will be selected and will receive up to $25 million in Empire State Development Capital Grant funding, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region will be eligible for up to $15 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.
Regional Council priorities in 2016 include:
- Support the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Plan, and begin to identify priority projects in the defined community;
- Implementing strategies through the project pipeline;
- Training the workforce for today and tomorrow; and
- Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.
By incentivizing the implementation of the strategic plans, Regional Councils, businesses, educational institutions, local governments, not-for-profit groups and other stakeholders are further motivated to work together to accomplish the regional vision. While project funding will be awarded to all 10 Regional Councils through the 2016 CFA, the competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies. Encouraging genuine cooperation among the REDCs and representatives of the community is critical to achieving economic development success.
In addition to the $10 million available to the winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative communities, state agencies will be awarding priority points through the CFA to additional downtown revitalization projects designed to transform communities ripe for development into vibrant, thriving neighborhoods.
Additionally, potential applicants from regions that were awarded $500 million through last year’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative are encouraged to submit CFAs in Round VI, as all three regions are full participants in this year’s REDC competition.
The deadline for CFA submissions is Friday, July 29th at 4 p.m.
Senator John Bonacic said, “Downtown Middletown has long been the historic gathering place of the Hudson Valley, and has fostered great success for local employees and visitors. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will allow us to continue to expand economically and provide even more opportunities for local businesses and community institutions throughout the region. I thank Governor Cuomo and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the character and enormous economic potential of our beloved Middletown and I look forward to seeing our transformation continue to improve the lives of residents and families in our community.”
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said, “Middletown is undergoing a true renaissance. Being selected as a winner of the Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative puts it over the top. This funding allows us to bring to completion infrastructure projects critical to attract more businesses and families to Middletown, as well as re-purpose many of our historic buildings to house those businesses and their employees. Governor Cuomo has my appreciation for his leadership and sincere thanks for recognizing the tremendous potential of a remarkable small, upstate city.”
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said, “Today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo is wonderful news. This funding will create jobs and help projects that have lagged for decades such as the Heritage Trail expansion and Indigot Water development plan come to life. It serves as validation for the hard work done by City of Middletown and County officials. Governor Cuomo has been a true partner of Orange County and I look forward to continuing to work with him to grow our economy.”
Middletown Mayor Joe DeStefano said, “This $10 million award from the State is another example of Governor Cuomo’s continued commitment to reviving the state’s downtown areas, and ensuring they remain a source of economic development in regions all across the state. I applaud the Regional Economic Development Council on such an excellent choice and look forward to our collaboration with the council as we begin to implement this initiative across the region.”
Dennis Murray, Co-Chair of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council said, “Mid-Hudson REDC Chair: “The Governor’s regional approach to generating economic potential has delivered tangible results for the Mid-Hudson Valley, and now with the Downtown Revitalization Initiate we are continuing to build on that progress. This winning plan will play an integral role in remaking our economic landscape into a platform for job growth and economic opportunity that will serve as a magnet for young people and private investment for years to come. I look forward to seeing this plan come into fruition and I look forward to seeing Middletown’s gathering space into a lively and inviting downtown.”
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