On December 29, 2022, the state of New York announced that over $22 million in grant funding had been awarded to 76 communities across the state through Round XII of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative to promote smart, sustainable and equitable community revitalization.
The funding will help these communities revitalize their waterfronts, clean up and redevelop abandoned industrial sites and create neighborhoods that are environmentally sustainable through three signature Department of State programs:
- Local Waterfront Revitalization Program – $16.4 million to 23 communities;
- Brownfield Opportunity Area Program – $4.1 million to 19 communities;
- Smart Growth Community Planning and Zoning Program – $2.4 million to 34 communities.
Of the 76 communities receiving awards, 58 percent will serve disadvantaged and underserved communities.
“We continue to invest in smart, sustainable, and equitable growth in communities across the state to give New Yorkers a cleaner, brighter future,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“This funding will help revitalize waterfronts, clean up and redevelop abandoned industrial sites, and create environmentally sustainable neighborhoods – all key aspects a thriving and vibrant community. We are excited to see the positive impact this funding will have on these communities and their residents,” she added.
Local Waterfront Revitalization Program ($16.4 million)
The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) provides grants to communities to develop a community-driven plan with a vision for their waterfront, guided by several environmental policies to ensure projects work in harmony with waterfront natural resources and ecosystems.
The projects funded through the EPF-LWRP will help local communities expand public access and protect the environment, while also boosting tourism and economic development opportunities.
These awards cover a variety of planning, design and construction projects that focus on economic, community, environmental and recreational improvements, reinforcing Governor Hochul’s stated commitment to improving both local economies and the environment.
“Our state’s economy is continuing to grow stronger than ever, and the Regional Economic Development Councils are at the ready to help however they can,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado.
“These diverse grants have a broad, sustainable scope from boosting underused waterfronts to cleaning up and developing overlooked fields. These projects pay dividends to the communities they serve and to all those who visit them,” he continued
This year, a total of $16.4 million was awarded to 23 communities; 15 of those awards (60%), worth a total $12.3 million, will serve disadvantaged and underserved communities. A list of communities receiving awards is available here.
Brownfield Opportunity Area Program ($4.1million)
The Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program transforms brownfield sites – neighborhoods or areas within a community negatively affected by real or perceived environmental conditions – from liabilities to community assets, which in turn generate and support new businesses, jobs, housing and public amenities.
The program provides grants for BOA plans which, once completed, are submitted to the New York State Secretary of State for approval, or “designation.” Implementation projects that are consistent with designated BOA plans receive priority State funding and are also entitled to an additional 5% brownfield redevelopment tax credit administered through the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The BOA program also provides grants for pre-development activities in State-designated BOAs, such as environmental, housing and economic studies, infrastructure analyses, marketing strategies, public engagement and zoning and regulatory updates and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments. The State currently has 67 designated BOAs, 56 of which (83%) serve disadvantaged and underserved communities.
This year, a total of $4.1 million was awarded to 19 communities; 11 of those awards (58%), worth a total $ 2.4 million, will serve disadvantaged communities. A list of communities receiving awards is available here.
Smart Growth Planning and Zoning Grant Program ($2.4 Million)
The Smart Growth Planning and Zoning Grant Program provides grants to communities to develop municipal-wide comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances, as well as targeted area plans and zoning, such as downtowns, central business districts and transit-orient development districts. Communities must commit to incorporating the principles of Smart Growth into their planning and zoning, including:
- walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly streetscapes;
- compact, mixed-use community design;
- vibrant downtowns and other municipal centers;
- a diversity of housing options for all incomes, ages and abilities;
- safe, accessible public spaces;
- ample parks and outdoor recreational opportunities; and
- green buildings and infrastructure.
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Governor Hochul’s commitment to sustainable and equitable community growth is fostering a renaissance in revitalization throughout the State, making New York a highly desired location for families all ages, backgrounds and incomes, as well as businesses and tourism. This grant funding will further New York’s progress by allowing communities to plan their own economic future through projects that improve quality of life for existing residents and tourists, while spurring economic growth for generations to come.”
This year, a total of $2.4 million was awarded to 34 communities; 18 of those awards (53%), worth a total $612,000, will serve disadvantaged and underserved communities. A list of communities receiving awards is available here.
All the above awards are funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund, which Governor Hochul increased from $300 million to $400 million in the Enacted Budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
The Department of State, through the Environmental Protection Fund, provides matching grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities throughout New York State and its coasts or designated inland waterways for planning, design and construction projects to revitalize communities and waterfronts.
These programs help communities breathe new life into community assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization.
Funding for these programs was included in Round 12 of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative through the CFA resources and standalone programs. The REDC process continues to support and empower regional stakeholders in developing strategic plans and funding priorities that meet local economic needs. Regional Councils reviewed projects from this program and provided scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region’s goals and strategies.
Applicants utilized New York’s Consolidated Funding Application, the state’s single application for state resources, which includes programs from numerous agencies. It is designed to provide expedited and streamlined access to a combined pool of grant funds and tax credits from dozens of existing programs.
Historic 1912 postcard of Stillwater, NY (one of the award winners) by unknown.