Riverhead Town was awarded a $10,000 state grant to complete a strategic parking study for the downtown area and downtown developer Georgic Green was awarded a $300,000 infrastructure grant for its mixed-use affordable rental apartment development, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.
A $26,000 grant was awarded to the Town of Southampton to design and construct the Riverside Maritime Trail along the Peconic River in Riverside, adjacent to Riverhead’s downtown business district.
Southold Town won approval for a $120,000 grant proposal for phase three of its Peconic Bay to Long Island Sound integrated trails initiative. The money will fund the removal of dilapidated buildings and debris from a waterfront property, planting native species and creating 0.3 miles of trail to provide public access to the site and adjacent tidal creek frontage.The new trail will connect to trails previously constructed through the initiative to create a trail system stretching from Long Island Sound to Peconic Bay.
Southold also received a $50,750 grant for stormwater runoff remediation protection of Richmond Creek. Stormwater management practices, including a gravel and sand drainage swale, will be installed at the end of South Harbor Road to filter stormwater, capture sediment and prevent it from entering Richmond Creek and the Peconic Bay.
Peconic Land Trust will administer a $500,000 award for the New York State Grown & Certified Agricultural Producer’s Grant program. Producers may receive funding to acquire equipment, make capital improvements and/or upgraded certifications required to meet the food safety standards of the New York State Grown & Certified program.
The East End Tourism Alliance was awarded a $187,000 grant for its craft beverage promotion weekends proposal and the Long Island Wine Council was awarded $150,000 for a wine tourism marketing project.
The grant awards were among more than $755 million in economic and community development funding awarded through Round VII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, which the governor calls the centerpiece of his strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs. The regional councils were established in 2011. Since then the Regional Economic Development Council competition has resulted in more than $5.4 billion in grant awards to more than 6,300 community development projects consistent with strategic plans developed by each economic development region. The state projects the grants will help create and retain more than 220,000 jobs.
“Over the past seven years, the Regional Economic Development Councils have successfully brought together the most innovative minds in economic development, fostering collaboration between state and local leaders to invest in New York’s regional resources from the ground up,” Cuomo said today. “These awards are critical to building the foundations for New York’s future and ensuring that our economic momentum continues,” he said.
North Fork Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and South Fork Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) had opposite points of view about the Regional Economic Development Council awards.
Palumbo was critical of the awards process, calling for greater transparency and accountability.
“Today Gov. Cuomo once again tossed around millions of taxpayer dollars as if he was the host of a game show,” he said. “This as two of his top aides face federal corruption charges related to investment in his previous, failed economic development programs. The numbers do not lie, these initiatives have failed and produced a very minimal number of jobs in regard to the amount of taxpayer dollars being invested into these programs,” Palumbo said in a press release.
“Although I fully support investment in Long Island, I believe that it being done in this manner is troubling. We need greater oversight and transparency in the process, as well as proof that the funds are being spent properly and efficiently,” Palumbo said.
His South Fork counterpart praised the grant program. “These economic development grants represent a major commitment by the State of New York to take the lead in creating jobs and improving the economy,” Thiele said. “I am pleased that Long Island was chosen for such substantial funding and that the businesses and communities in my district will benefit.”
A full list of the 2017 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.