Community Development Experts, Local Elected Officials and Business Leaders to Share Economic Growth Strategies in the Mid-Hudson Valley Handbook for Local Governments and Nonprofits Serves as One-Stop-Shop Resource For State Grants And Programs – Available at: www.ny.gov/growth
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the success of the state’s fifth regional sustainability conference, which brought together more than 330 community development experts, local elected officials and business leaders to share successful economic growth strategies in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The conference is part of a statewide effort to boost awareness of resources available to local governments and nonprofit organizations to help create sustainable communities across New York. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul hosted the conference in at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, where she highlighted a handbook that serves as a one-stop-shop resource for State grants – providing context and web links to the complete list of more than 100 innovative funding programs.
"From the bottom-up approach of the Regional Economic Development Councils to investing in the rebirth of New York's downtowns, our administration is committed to supporting a sustainable economy in the Mid-Hudson Valley and beyond," Governor Cuomo said. "This conference brought together expert stakeholders and community leaders to address challenges and work to develop smart economic growth strategies to benefit the area’s diverse business climate and ensure a bright future for the entire region."
"Governor Cuomo has proven how critical sustainable principles and strategic investments are to the growth of a region, and this is exemplified everywhere you look in the Mid-Hudson Valley," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Thanks to the Governor's leadership and vision, we have continued to invest in creating and protecting jobs, jumpstart growth in new industries and strengthen our rural communities. The progress is undeniable and these conferences are key in building off those successes."
The Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance Conference draws on then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo's 1999 conference, "Bridging the Divide: Making Regions Work for Everyone: Shaping the Federal Agenda," which invited experts and academics in regionalism, smart growth and urban revitalization to present their ideas, followed by panel discussions among a diverse group of stakeholders.
Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State is prioritizing cross-collaboration between state agencies, local governments and community partners to maximize the collective impact of their efforts. Western New York is a prime example of this bottom-up approach that has shown its success through the Regional Economic Development Councils.
To date, New York State has invested more than $4.4 billion in the Mid-Hudson Valley helping to advance the region's goals. Since July 2010, the Mid-Hudson region has added 69,700 private sector jobs – an increase of 9.6 percent, bringing the total number of private sector jobs to 796,800, as of July 2016. Today, the region's unemployment rate has dropped significantly – moving from 7.7 percent in August 2010 to 4.4 percent during the same time this year.
At the collaborative governance conference, speakers and panel discussions examined case studies, shared best practices and discussed examples of how New York State will continue to serve as a partner in creating sustainable, integrated communities and boosting bottom-up economic development efforts. Two sustainable development experts delivered keynote addresses:
- Catherine Tumber, author of Small, Gritty and Green: The promise of America’s Older Industrial Cities in a Non-Carbon World
- Melissa Everett, Executive Director, Sustainable Hudson Valley
Attendees included local elected officials, planners, economic development experts, housing advocates and more. The conference highlighted Governor Cuomo's commitment to mass transit and transit oriented development, as well as projects and investments in Long Island to build back better and stronger after Superstorm Sandy.
At the event, Lieutenant Governor Hochul announced that $2.4 million has been awarded to five projects in the region through the State's Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program to help farmers protect more than 700 acres of valuable and at-risk farmland. Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor announced that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has made $790,000 available for cities, towns and villages in the Mid-Hudson Valley to convert streetlights to LEDs, potentially saving up to 65 percent on electricity costs.
Other sustainability and development programs that have been initiated or reformed over the last six years under Governor Cuomo include:
- Cleaner, Greener Regional Sustainability Plans
- Regional Economic Development Councils
- Land Bank Act to convert vacant properties
- Legislation to combat zombie properties
- Complete Streets design initiative
- Upstate Revitalization Initiative
- Hudson Valley Farmland Preservation and Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Programs
- Clean Energy Communities
- Brownfield Redevelopment Reform
- Historic Preservation Tax Credit
- Climate Smart Communities Grants
- Community Risk and Resiliency Act
Small, Gritty and Green Author Catherine Tumber said, "The Governor's regional approach to sustainability, smart growth, and economic development is among the best in the country, and I feel honored to participate in this Mid-Hudson gathering. As an upstate New Yorker heart, I think these visionary programs are essential to putting upstate at the center of a prosperous low-carbon future."
Sustainable Hudson Valley Executive Director Melissa Everett said, "So much of the Hudson Valley’s economic vitality has come from the way its creative population has interacted with environmental as well as economic opportunities - the trail systems, arts and innovation districts, food hubs, clean energy installations, and the unique educational institutions like the one we are meeting in. All these ingredients make our economy more dynamic while they also help us reduce our environmental footprint. Governor Cuomo's Sustainable Development conference provides the ideal forum to discuss and achieve these mutually-reinforcing goals."
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said, "Our seven-county region has seen tremendous growth over the past six years, and thanks to the Governor's commitment and focus on building stronger, sustainable economies, the Mid-Hudson region is setting the stage for an even brighter future. This conference brought creative minds together to develop proposals that will ensure sustainable growth for years to come and we look forward to taking our communities to new heights."
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, "The Mid-Hudson Sustainability Conference highlighted how important a strong community is to the success of a region. From a robust business climate to public-private partnerships and job creation, our communities are moving in the right direction. Together, we are investing in the region’s key industries, attracting more businesses, and laying the groundwork for greater success today and for future generations."
Hyde Park Town Supervisor Aileen Rohr said, "I look forward to working with our local and state partners to implement sustainable initiatives for economic growth not only in Hyde Park, but across this entire region. Our Governor has made it a priority to develop innovative, environmentally-friendly strategies to put our communities in the right direction toward building a more united, sustainable economy."
Culinary Institute of America President Dr. Tim Ryan said, "Sustainability is at the core of so much of what goes on here at CIA and we are thrilled to host Governor Cuomo’s Regional Conference on Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance to help spread these principles throughout our entire region. By bringing together such an impressive and diverse group of stakeholders, today's conference allows us to develop the relationships and initiatives that are key in building a brighter and more sustainable economic future."