State to Collaborate with Capital Region Economic Development Council to Revitalize the City of Hudson's Downtown
Part of Governor's Comprehensive Approach to Transform Communities into Vibrant Neighborhoods and Boost Local Economies
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the City of Hudson will receive $10 million in funding and investments as the Capital Region winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first round of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions will be selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify catalytic downtown projects to boost the local economy.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below.
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very, very, very much. It is my pleasure to be at the opera house today, and I will perform the Marriage of Figaro, always wanted to do that. First, to the Assemblywoman who has done such a great, great job, not just representing the district, but as a member of the conference for the entire state. Let's give Didi Barrett a round of applause. Mayor Tiffany Hamilton, who's doing a great job, let's give her a round of applause. The head of the Empire State Development Corporation, who we need to give a really boisterous round of applause because he has the money, Howard Zemsky. And Gary Schiro, thank you so much for what you've done here for this restoration, for this magnificent facility. Gary, thank you very much.
You know, in many ways, this opera house is just a metaphor for what we're talking about today. 1855, Susan B. Anthony spoke here, Emerson spoke here, Teddy Roosevelt spoke here. And they don't make these places anymore. That's the value, that's the import, that's what the Assemblywoman was talking about. The history and the culture that is Hudson. I used to do economic development, urban development for the department of housing and urban development. I did it all across the country during the Clinton administration, and the key on urban development, economic development was build on your asset. What do you have that makes you unique and is your competitive advantage? And Hudson has almost everything you could imagine if you were designing a foundation to build on the history that is Hudson. The location that is Hudson, the school of landscape artists and architects, and starting with a base of arts and culture, that I remember one was all about antique shops, and I used to come up to go antiquing, or I was brought along antiquing because I'm not really, I would love to say that I'm an antique aficionado, but I'm not. But sometimes I would be the escort on the antiquing, and that arts and culture just grew from there, and now you feel it compound, right? Now there's a health and wellness movement, there's a farm to table movement. Getting back to nature, and Hudson has capitalized on all of that. And you can feel the growth, you can feel the change, you can see it.
When I was HUD I used to work with Mayor Scalera at that time and I remember how hard it was to get it started/ It's momentum, it takes a lot of energy to get that stone moving but once it's moving, it starts to build momentum and it works on its own. And that's what's happening here in Hudson. The state is invested very heavily in tourism. And it has been phenomenal investment for us. We invested 200 million dollars, which is a lot of money in basically in the "I Love New York" campaign and it has generated 1.8 billion dollars in revenue. How about that for a return on your money?
It is done phenomenal for Upstate New York and for the Hudson Valley Region. We now have 20 million tourists per year coming to this region. 20 million. And the numbers have been off the charts. Why? Because nobody knew about Upstate New York and the Hudson Valley Region before. It was an untold story. Right? New York City you had 50 million visitors a year going to New York City, but they thought that was it. They thought that was New York, right? And nobody said hold on a second, you love New York City, it's one of the greatest urban environments on the globe. We also have rural and suburban and some of the most beautiful geography and history and did you see the Hudson Valley and did you see the North Country? And that's what the campaign has done. It just exposed the Hudson Valley, Upstate New York, and the beauty of it. And the tourism numbers have increased and the revenue is increased and that's a big part of what's going on here in Hudson.
On the numbers, we know it's working. When we started this program, unemployment in this region was 7.1 percent. Today, it is down to 4.2 percent. Isn't that something? And one number that says it all. We just passed the 8 million jobs number, the highest number of private sector jobs in the history of the state of New York, believe it or not. 8 million jobs. So we see the state and the state in economic development basically as an investment banker, right? We don't tell a community what to do. We don't give a community a plan. But we say recognize the diversity of the state, we recognize the different regions. It is then up to each region and each community to find what it does better than anyone else and what their competitive advantage is. And if shows promise, and if it's smart, we will give it a grant from the state to grow it. One of the programs that does that is something called the DRI, downtown revitalization initiative which is looking to invest in downtown areas that are growing, that show promise, where the community is engaged and the businesses are engaged, where you have enlightened government. And then the state will invest to keep that synergy going.
Here's the problem, we have 10 winners in this state, but we have 104 applicants for the 10 spots. So the competition is very, very high and of the 104, I have to tell you they're communities that were very, very hard and they are really all great plans. And I believe even if you don't win first place, going through the exercise of doing the plan, going through that organizational process, developing those relationships that's good in and of itself. What we're going to do because we have so many good plans, we're going to have just 10 first place winners that would receive 10 million dollars. We're going to have second place winners also that win 5 million, hold on one second, that win 5 million dollars. We're going to have third place winners that win 2.5 million dollars, fourth place winners that win 1 million dollars and a set of steak knives. So, I am here to announce that you are a first place winner, 10 million dollars. Congratulations.