October 6, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Success of North Country Regional Sustainable Development and Collaborative Governance Conference

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Success of North...

Community Development Experts, Local Elected Officials and Business Leaders to Share Economic Growth Strategies in the North Country

Handbook for Local Governments and Nonprofits Serves as One-Stop-Shop Resource For State Grants And Programs – Available at http://www.ny.gov/growth


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the success of the state’s fourth regional sustainability conference, which brought together over 330 community development experts, local elected officials and business leaders to share successful economic growth strategies in the North Country. 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 Lake Placid, 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.

"Whether through the work of the Regional Economic Development Council or our efforts to grow New York's tourism industry, this administration has spent the past six years working tirelessly to help jumpstart economic growth in the North Country," Governor Cuomo said. “By bringing the business community and local leaders together with all levels of government to create cross-sector partnerships, we are building on past successes to help this region continue developing a long term plan for sustainable growth."

“Governor Cuomo has proven that strategic investment and collaboration across traditional borders can be a game-changer for a region, and this is exemplified everywhere you look in the North Country,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Under our Governor’s leadership, we are investing more to create and protect jobs, jumpstart growth in new industries and strengthen our rural communities and the results today are undeniable.”

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 $2.286 billion in the North Country helping to advance the region's goals. In that timespan, the unemployment rate in the North Country has dropped significantly – moving from 8.7 percent in August 2010 to 5.1 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:

  • Mike Richter, President of Brightcore Energy, Founder of Healthy Planet Partners Former NHL All-Star and three-time Olympian. 
  • Quentin Wheeler, President of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

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 five North Country communities are receiving nearly $231,000 in "Smart Growth" grants through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. These grants are being awarded to Adirondack municipalities and not-for-profit organizations to support projects focused on key aspects of the state's Smart Growth program such as hamlet revitalization, economic growth and environmental protection.

Additional 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

Brightcore Energy President, Founder of Healthy Planet Partners and Former NHL All-Star Mike Richter said, "Sustainability is critical to not only protecting our present, but preserving our future and thanks to great leadership in Albany, New York has become a national model for implementing sustainable growth policies. As a businessman, I can tell you that it's become easier to do business in New York because of that leadership. If the other 49 states can get in line and do it as well as they're doing it in New York, America would be well on its way to being a world leader in sustainable growth."

SUNY ESF President Quentin Wheeler said, "Sustainability stands at the core of our mission at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to sustainability is clear at this conference as a diverse group of stakeholders come together around a common issue. New York doesn’t just talk about sustainability; we actually make it happen in communities throughout State."

Senator Betty Little said, "The strength of our economy depends upon the strength of our people. Working with Governor Cuomo, we are investing in the North Country’s regional strengths to expand key industries and bolster economic growth. This conference showcases the innovative ideas that are now attracting more and more businesses to our region, as well as the bold proposals that will build an even brighter economic future."

Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "Together, we are building a bright, sustainable future for all. With more and more new jobs and businesses, the economic revitalization of the North Country has transformed the region. This conference brings together the leaders who are spearheading this transformation and ensuring sustainable growth for generations to come. Governor Cuomo’s innovative, regionally focused policies are boosting the economy and providing new opportunities in communities across the North Country and all across New York."

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office