Hudson Valley Loses Out on $500M Windfall
John Jordan | December 2015
Mid-Hudson Secures Nearly $91M in State Funding
ALBANY—This may well prove the case that the Mid-Hudson is not considered upstate. While the Mid-Hudson region’s economy will surely benefit from the $90.4 million for 109 projects from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 Consolidated Funding Application competition, the results of the governor’s $1.5-billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative were in fact reflective of its name.
In a ceremony held on Dec.10 in Albany, Gov. Cuomo announced that three upstate districts—Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Central New York—secured $500 million each in state funding from the $1.5 billion URI financed by bank settlement funds. Between the annual CFA awards and the URI designations, the state dolled out approximately $2.25 billion in awards at the event.
The Mid-Hudson region was the southern most of the seven regions that competed for one of the three $500-million awards. New York City, Long Island and Western New York were deemed ineligible for the URI awards, which then pitted seven districts for the three lucrative awards. The URI award funding will be spread out over a five-year period.
As a consolation prize, the four districts that did not secure URI awards will each receive an additional $50 million in state funding next year, the governor announced.
Gov. Cuomo said of this year’s economic development awards, “Over the past five years, the Regional Councils have become an integral part of generating economic opportunity in communities statewide. By removing barriers to growth, controlling spending and cutting taxes, we have laid the groundwork for our Regional Councils to pursue projects in key industries that have turned their communities into local economic engines. This year’s round of awards demonstrates the progress that has been made in changing the trajectory of our economy and continues our commitment to investing in the future of New York State.”
Political leaders throughout the Hudson Valley issued statements that downplayed the URI loss and highlighted the worthwhile projects in their respective areas that received state funding support.
For example, Laurence Gottlieb, president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., said, “While we are disappointed the Mid-Hudson region was not designated for Upstate Revitalization funding, we thank Governor Cuomo and the Regional Economic Development Council for investing in major HVEDC-supported projects throughout the Hudson Valley including Bellefield at Hyde Park (Dutchess County), Wildberry Lodge in New Paltz (Ulster County), as well as many other critical endeavors that collectively represent HVEDC’s core cluster initiatives.”
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus was upbeat about Orange County receiving $9.5 million in state funding from the CFA competition.
“These funds are greatly appreciated and will expand the tax base, creating a variety of construction and permanent jobs for Orange County,” Neuhaus said. “The award is a testament to Orange County’s commitment to economic development and our vision for the future.”
One of the more intriguing funding selections in the Mid-Hudson was the continued state funding support for the Legoland theme park. Previously, New York State had promised $3.1 million in funding if the project was built in the state. The project was slated to be developed at Letchworth Village in Haverstraw and Stony Point in Rockland County. However, recently Haverstraw informed Merlin Entertainments, PLC, the developer, that it was not interested in having the project built within its borders.
The state granted another $1 million in funding for the $250-million Legoland amusement park, but did not list a location for the project in its list of awardees. The funding would be for the second phase of the theme park that could involve a water park and hotel. Orange County officials have stated in published reports that they have been in contact with Merlin Entertainments regarding the Legoland project.
Orange County Partnership Chief Executive Officer Maureen Halahan told members of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency on Dec. 10th that Legoland is studying three sites in Orange County for its project, according to a report in the Middletown Times-Herald Record.
“They want to be in New York, they want to be in Orange County, they’ve made that clear,” Halahan said.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano also had reason to praise the CFA funding this year since the city will be receiving $3 million in economic development related assistance.
“Combined with $1 billion of private investment in Yonkers, this funding proves that economic development, job creation and investment are back on track,” said Yonkers Mayor Spano. “I’d like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and our State Delegation for these latest awards and their continued support as we work to further grow our city, improve our economy and position Yonkers as the best city in which to live, work and play.”
Some of the top projects to receive CFA funding this year include:
Monticello Wastewater Disinfection Project—$2.5 million
Install a new ultraviolet disinfection system at the Village of Monticello’s wastewater treatment plant in Sullivan County.
Bellefield at Hyde Park Mixed-Use Development Project (two awards) —$2.25 million
The $94.6-million Bellefield at Hyde Park project will create a world class, multi-faceted hospitality and tourism destination. Phase One of the project will consist of two hotels with a total of 250 guest rooms, a 15,000 square foot conference center, one freestanding restaurant, a 15,000-square foot spa, retail establishments and other amenities. The project will also include 48,000 square feet of leased retail space and a 10,000 square foot freestanding restaurant.
Wildberry Lodge—$1.75 million (two awards)
Two awards to support The Turk Hospitality Group’s plan to construct and operate Wildberry Lodge, a indoor waterpark, resort and conference center in New Paltz in Ulster County.
Marist College Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship—$1.5 million
Marist College will redevelop a 45,000-square-foot building that will be dedicated to advanced technology business development, commercialization and skill and technology transfer. A total of 25,000 square feet will be developed as office space for small tech-based manufacturing businesses.
The SoYo Mixed-Use TOD Project – Phase II – $1.25 million
SoYo Phase II is a $197-million project that will consist of the construction of 580,000 gross square-feet of mixed-use transit-oriented development, representing nearly a full square block in Downtown Yonkers and adjacent to Van Der Donck Park, which features the “daylighted” Saw Mill River. The project to be developed by SoYo Exalta, LLC, will create more than 454,000 gross square-feet of residential space (442 units), 509 parking spaces and nearly 40,000 gross square-feet of retail and restaurant space facing Van Der Donck Park.
Vassar Brothers Medical Center Pavilion—$1.25 million
Provide assistance for the construction of a $466-million 696,000-square-foot medical tower by the Vassar Brothers Hospital Foundation in Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County.
Cayuga Pond Stormwater and Sediment Reduction—$1.05 million
The Village of Scarsdale will construct a one-quarter acre sediment forebay at the southern end of the Fenway Golf Club to capture sediment from the Sheldrake River prior to entering Cayuga Pond.
Stewart International Airport Infrastructure Improvement Project – $1 million
The funding will support a $14.2-million project addressing several water, wastewater, and sewage infrastructure improvements at Stewart International Airport. These improvements will allow for economic expansion, as well as the attraction of new commercial tenants, enabling Stewart to accommodate more personal and commercial aircraft, support more air traffic, add 35,000 square-feet of terminal space and expand cargo space.
Empire Stave Mill and Cooperage—$1 million
Empire State Cooperage LLC plans to build and operate a stave mill and cooperage in Sullivan County to satisfy increasing demand for oak barrels from distillers and wineries in New York State and across the U.S.
BBG Ventures Food and Manufacturing Facility—$ 1 million
Funding will support BBG Ventures, LLC’s new food, beverage manufacturing and retail facility in Ulster County. The project will involve the adaptive reuse of the former Woolworth’s building in Kingston.
Central Kingston Green Affordable Housing Civic Uses—$1 million
RUPCO seeks to build affordable housing at the former Mid-City Lanes bowling alley in Kingston in Ulster County. The adaptive reuse project will convert the former bowling alley into a zero-net energy structure.
Charles Point Multi-Use Waterfront Trail—$950,000
The City of Peekskill in Westchester County will construct a multi-use trail from Charles Point Park to the Charles Point Marina.
Homes for Heroes Green Innovation—$895,000
The project will replace a large paved area at the Homes for Heroes site with bioretention and porous pavement and a constructed wetland in the Town of Orangetown in Rockland County.
Napanoch Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure Improvements—$600,000
Funds will be used to make improvements to the Napanoch Wastewater Treatment plant infrastructure.
Middletown Community Campus Redevelopment Project—$500,000
The City of Middletown will undertake the necessary infrastructure improvements to support the proposed redevelopment of the former Middletown Psychiatric Hospital in Orange County.
Hudson River Housing—$500,000
Funding will assist in the renovation of Cardinal Court, a mixed-use building at 40 Cannon St. in Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County.
Route 17M Wastewater Treatment Plant to Support Amy’s Kitchen—$500,000
Orange County will obtain and upgrade the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center’s wastewater treatment plant in Goshen to support Amy’s Kitchen, the Office of Mental Health and other economic development along the Route 17M corridor.
Yonkers Carpet Mills Arts District Revitalization Project—$500,000
R.J. Rose Realty, LLC will make critical improvements to the former Alexander Smith Carpet Mills site to transform the aging facility into a arts and new technology hub.
Dwarrrkill Pine Bush Regional Water Supply Project—$400,000
Orange County will advance on the final phase of a new source of water supply for the Town of Crawford. The project will include the construction of three production groundwater wells, a treatment building and installation of 10,500 feet of transmission main.
Photo Caption: Gov. Cuomo with members of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.