November 8, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $3.7 Million Available for Smart Growth Grants for Adirondack and Catskill Park Communities

Governor Hochul Announces $3.7 Million Available for Smart Growth Grants for Adirondack and Catskill Park Communities

Department of Environmental Conservation is Soliciting Applications for Projects to Link Environmental Protection, Economic Development, and Community Livability in the Forest Preserve

This Round of Smart Growth Grants Focuses on Affordable Housing to Support Population and Economic Stability in Rural Communities

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that $3.7 million in Smart Growth Grants is available for communities and not-for-profit organizations in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in partnership with the Department of State and the Adirondack Park Agency, is soliciting applications for projects that will link environmental protection, economic development, and community livability in the Forest Preserve. The focus for this round of Smart Growth Grants is affordable housing, a key component for addressing population and economic stability in these rural areas.

“Through the Smart Growth Grant Program, we’re boosting economic development and enhancing the quality of life for New Yorkers in our rural communities,” Governor Hochul said. “As New Yorkers continue to face high housing costs in communities across our state, it’s increasingly hard for families to find places to live in destination towns such as those in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. By prioritizing housing through the smart growth program, we can help communities increase their local work force, stabilize property values, and lower the cost of living for residents."

DEC's Community Smart Growth Grants Program is modeled after the national "smart growth" movement, which promotes growth that harmonizes economic development with protection of the natural and built environment. Today’s announcement marks the seventh round of Smart Growth grants since the program’s inception. Nearly $6.5 million has been awarded to communities – $1.9 million in the Catskill Park, and $4.5 million in the Adirondack Park. For more information, visit DEC’s website.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve is home to a patchwork of public lands and private property, creating unique challenges and opportunities for local communities. Smart growth projects help communities strike a balance between development and protection of natural resources, bolstering local efforts to capitalize on the benefits provided by nearby natural resources while fostering sustainable development and economic stability without negative environmental impacts.”

Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Barb Rice said, “The Smart Growth Grant program is an important opportunity for Adirondack and Catskill communities to address a broad range of needs and goals. For more than a decade, this program has resulted in the implementation of environmentally sustainable projects that increased the quality of life for park residents. Governor Hochul’s prioritization of affordable housing targets a critical issue confronting many communities. We strongly encourage municipalities and not-for-profits to take advantage of this program dedicated specifically to the Adirondacks and the Catskills.”

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Smart Growth offers a critical pathway toward achieving affordable housing, economic development and environmental sustainability in the Adirondack and Catskills. The Smart Growth Grant of $3.7 million will help communities in the Parks set a long-term, community-based vision for sustainable, equitable and climate-friendly growth. New York State is a national leader in smart growth, equity and climate change, and this new funding opportunity just adds to our impressive suite of supportive policies and programs.”

Funding for these grants is provided by the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and includes $2.7 million for Adirondack Park projects and $1 million for projects in the Catskill Park. The goal of this grant program is to support projects that build on comprehensive planning and economic development activities. In the 2023-24 State Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history. The EPF also provides funding for critical environmental programs such as farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.

Eligible projects should support larger community development projects, such as revitalization efforts, capital improvements, and organizational development or capacity building, and may include but are not limited to:

  • Providing bike-friendly routes and amenities;
  • Improving or promoting local/regional museums and theaters;
  • Main Street façade improvement;
  • Refurbishing historic properties;
  • Providing community-based tourism programs and activities;
  • Creating new recreational opportunities;
  • Multi-use trail development;
  • Wayfinding and informational signage and kiosks;
  • Enhancing parks and public spaces;
  • Zoning updates;
  • Visitor center improvements;
  • Beautifying tourism sites; and
  • Providing sidewalks in hamlets and villages.

The grant program also welcomes applications for development of comprehensive and/or local land use plans, as well as updates to existing plans.

The Request for Applications is available through the New York State Grants Gateway and the deadline to apply is 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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