Village of Sleepy Hollow and Town of Cornwall to Receive $4.5 Million Each
New $100 Million NY Forward Program Builds on Momentum of the Successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative to Support a More Equitable Downtown Recovery for New York’s Smaller Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Village of Sleepy Hollow, and the Town of Cornwall and the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson, will each receive $4.5 million in funding as the two Mid-Hudson Region winners of the first round of NY Forward. Building on the momentum of the state’s successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same “Plan-then-Act” strategy as DRI to support a more equitable downtown recovery for New York’s smaller and rural communities. During NY Forward Round One, two to three awards will be made to smaller communities in each of the state’s ten economic development regions to support development and implementation of a revitalization plan for their downtowns. As part of the FY24 Executive Budget, Governor Hochul has proposed $100 million to fund an additional round of NY Forward.
“We are helping small towns and cities across our state build a better future for New Yorkers through our NY Forward program,” Governor Hochul said. “These awards will help the Village of Sleepy Hollow and the Town of Cornwall and the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson develop their downtowns, improve the quality of life for residents and visitors, and create new jobs and attract businesses to expand economic opportunity across the region.”
NY Forward is a component of the State’s economic development efforts, working together with DRI to accelerate and expand the revitalization of New York’s downtowns. The program serves smaller communities with historic character that distinguishes them from the larger, more urban central business districts typically funded through DRI. NY Forward communities are walkable, less dense areas that serve the immediate local community, and are more local in nature - focusing on the immediately surrounding residential or rural agricultural centric development.
Like DRI, each NY Forward community will develop a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown through a slate of readily implementable projects. The Department of State will provide enhanced technical assistance to better support smaller communities that may have less capacity as part of the NY Forward program and fund projects appropriately scaled to the size of each community. Projects may include building renovation and redevelopment, new construction or creation of new or improved public spaces and other projects that elevate specific cultural, historical qualities that enhance the feeling of small-town charm.
The Village of Sleepy Hollow is known for its literary fame centered around the story, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Downtown Sleepy Hollow consists of dense, mixed-use commercial corridors with buildings mostly constructed in the latter half of the 19th century and has substantial multi-modal access and a strong tourism industry. The Village shares a vibrant farmers market—the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Farmers’ Market—with its neighboring community, which has been voted as a finalist for designation as America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market and is ranked as one of the top five farmers’ markets in New York State. Sleepy Hollow offers an assortment of other food choices as well, and smaller farm-to-table and artisanal restaurants have recently chosen to open in the Village. Downtown Sleepy Hollow is bracketed by two well-used public parks – Reverend Skyes Park and Barnhart Park – and features extraordinary views of the Hudson River.
Sleepy Hollow has recently experienced reinvestment from major institutions and businesses, including from regional health centers and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, as well as substantial private investment to create residential units for nearly 3,000 new residents. To successfully seize the opportunity offered by these investments, Sleepy Hollow seeks to create more attractive and safer streets with unique placemaking components, redevelop vacant and underutilized lots and add housing at multiple price points – enabling the village to once again flourish.
Cornwall and Cornwall-on-Hudson
The Town of Cornwall surrounds and includes the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson, and both rest on the shores of the Hudson River, nestled between the hills of the Hudson Highlands and Storm King Mountain. The Town of Cornwall and Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson each have distinct, walkable downtown areas that are less than two miles apart and are anchored by a diversity of public spaces and institutions, like the DeCicco Family Market, the only fresh food market in Cornwall, and Riverlight Park, which hosts the Cornwall Farmers’ Market and the Town’s Summer Music in the Park series. Within and around Cornwall are vital community and regional assets that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, like Storm King State Park, Storm King Art Center, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Brotherhood Winery, Woodbury Common and more.
Cornwall has recently seen an influx of visitors in recent years partially due to these nearby assets. The Town and Village have been planning for and investing in revitalization that would make these downtowns into a unique destination in an area full of attractions while continuing to improve the quality of life for residents of this community. To further this progress, the Town of Cornwall and the Village of Cornwall-on Hudson seeks to connect their two downtowns, enhance placemaking and public spaces and revitalize underutilized buildings and sites throughout the neighborhood.
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “NY Forward targets smaller downtowns to help ensure no community, regardless of size or character, is left out of New York’s downtown renaissance. With their strategic locations along the scenic Hudson River and diverse offerings of unique public spaces and attractions, Sleepy Hollow and Cornwall are primed for economic resurgence, and this NY Forward funding will help these communities realize their visions. I look forward to seeing what the future brings for Sleepy Hollow, Cornwall and the entire Mid-Hudson region.”
Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Taking an economic development cue from the DRI, NY Forward’s focused approach is aimed at revitalizing downtowns in smaller and rural communities around the state. The first-round awards will add to the legends of the Village of Sleepy Hollow and the Town of Cornwall to further elevate these centers of art, history and natural beauty, improving quality of life and boosting the tourism economy.”
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “We are excited to see the changes that these investments through the first round of the Governor’s $100 million NY Forward program will help advance. The Village of Sleepy Hollow, already well-known for its role as the backdrop for Washington Irving’s fiction and its fantastic Farmer’s Market, can create a more cohesive and newly energized downtown that encourages better foot traffic and the redevelopment of vacant or underused properties into new housing and businesses. Cornwall and Cornwall-on-Hudson have plans to boost the draw of their own downtowns, improve public spaces and refurbish or redevelop properties that are rundown. Now those plans can become reality.”
Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester and Dr. Kristine Young, President of SUNY Orange said, "On behalf of the Council, congratulations to Sleepy Hollow and Cornwall for their selection as NY Forward recipients. The funding awarded through this program will help these communities to advance revitalization projects that will encourage new investments and new regional economic growth."
State Senator James Skoufis said, "Cornwall has all the makings of a great Hudson Valley downtown: walkability, easy access to the river and plentiful outdoor recreation, a healthy business community, great schools, and proximity to cultural gems. And as a Cornwall resident, I know just how close the town and village are to realizing their full potential. This NY Forward funding is just what our community needs to chart a path forward for a successful and sustainable future."
Assemblymember Maryjane Shimsky said, “Sleepy Hollow is a small village in the midst of a big transformation. With the addition of nearly 3,000 housing units on the waterfront, revitalizing the Village’s aging downtown corridor is key to the community’s success. This NY Forward award will enable the people of Sleepy Hollow to have a thriving business district that celebrates the Village’s historic legacy. I thank Governor Hochul and the NY Forward program for recognizing the value of investing in Sleepy Hollow.”
Assemblymember Chris Eachus said, “The Town of Cornwall and the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson are in proximity to a multitude of local attractions, including the Storm King Art Center, Woodbury Commons, and Brotherhood Winery. This has resulted in an area with surging tourism, and a need for a blossoming downtown to match. The proposed $4.5 Million could not come at a better time to meet the needs of the moment. The Governor's recognition of this great potential, and her bold action in support of the Hudson Valley, must be applauded.”
Sleepy Hollow Mayor Kenneth Wray said, “We are delighted to receive the $4.5 million grant as part of the NY Forward program. We thank the Governor for recognizing the significant achievements of Sleepy Hollow to increase its economic development while also improving its affordable housing stock. This grant enables us to revitalize our downtown to become a regional attraction for visitors far and wide thus building a foundation for our many small businesses that are near and dear to all our residents”
Cornwall Town Supervisor Josh Wojehowski said, “Cornwall has been working to revitalize its Main Street and downtown areas for a number of years to take advantage of visitors who are hiking our trails, paddling our rivers and visiting world renown institutions. The NY Forward grant will allow our community to take those efforts to the next level by linking two downtown areas via pedestrian friendly projects, the use of public art, creating additional open space and other amenities.”
Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor James Gagliano said, “The Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York is humbled and thrilled to have partnered with our close neighbor, the Town of Cornwall, and received news from the Governor's Office that our community was selected to receive a New York Forward grant. Our detailed, constructive, and realistic plan to improve the walkability, connectivity, and attraction of our enjoined downtown business districts will benefit mightily from this grant. Governor Hochul's leadership and commitment via encouragement and support for the downtown revitalization initiative across the state is paying dividends. This is a true difference-maker for our community."
The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered the criteria below before recommending these communities as nominees:
- Downtown is compact with well-defined boundaries;
- Downtown can capitalize on prior, or catalyze future private and public investment;
- Recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
- Downtown is an attractive and livable community for diverse populations;
- Municipality embraces, or has the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life;
- Municipality has conducted open and robust community engagement to develop a preliminary list of projects and initiatives for downtown revitalization that may be included in a Strategic Investment Plan;
- Municipality has identified transformative projects ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of NY Forward funds; and
- Municipality has the local capacity to manage the planning and implementation of projects, including the ability to oversee contracts for awarded municipal projects.
Sleepy Hollow and Cornwall will now begin the process of developing Strategic Investment Plans to revitalize their downtowns. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead these eﬀorts, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify projects that align with each community's vision and that are poised for implementation. Funding will be awarded for selected projects from the Strategic Investment Plan that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and generate new opportunities for long-term growth.