Grants totaling some $4.3 million will assist projects in Saratoga County, the money coming in economic and community development funding awarded through Round VI of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
More than $700 million in grants statewide was announced Dec. 8.
Among the local highlights is a grant of $1.1 million to help Saratoga Springs construct the Greenbelt Trail Downtown Connector.
The project involves incorporating bicyclist, pedestrian, and transit improvements in an area starting at the corner of the Maple and Lake avenues and extending to the eastern loop of Excelsior Avenue. Work will consist of preliminary and final engineering and construction.
The Regional Councils were established in 2011 to replace the state’s old top-down approach to economic development, with one that is community-based and performance-driven. State officials said the initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.
“Through the Regional Economic Development Councils, we have replaced the ‘one-size fits all’ approach to economic growth with a ‘ground-up’ strategy that focuses on cooperation and investing in regional assets to generate opportunity,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “By bringing together ideas from local government and community leaders with state resources, we are giving these councils the tools to create jobs and drive economic activity in their communities for generations to come.”
The initiative “brings together a diverse and talented group of leaders from the business, academic, and not-for-profit sectors to collaborate on transformative projects that are redeveloping our downtowns, retaining and expanding businesses, and rebuilding our infrastructure for the 21st Century,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, chairwoman of the Regional Economic Development Councils.
The REDC process has transformed government’s approach to economic development in New York state, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up, regional economic growth and streamlining the state funding application process, she said. Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, over $4.6 billion has been awarded to more than 5,200 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 210,000 jobs statewide.
Other projects receiving grants in Saratoga County include:
• Common Roots Brewing Co. Expansion, $100,000. The company in South Glens Falls will expand and renovate its existing warehouse to accommodate a new canning line and grain storage, milling and conveyance systems to support continued growth and expansion into new markets.
• Hudson Valley Community College, HVCC Building Systems Technology Programs, $75,000. Expansion of the current labs at HVCC’s Malta location that serve the renewable energy employer market to enable additional students to be accepted into the Electrical Construction Maintenance program.
• JW Danforth Expansion, $575,000. JW Danforth in Ballston Spa will build an office building adjacent to its warehouse/fabrication facility to accommodate existing and future employment growth.
• Polyset Co. Inc. Expansion, $250,000. Polyset in Mechanicville will construct a warehouse on its existing property and acquire adjoining buildings to increase operational capacity, add an additional production shift and hire additional employees.
• Saratoga County Planning Department, Zim Smith Trail Extension, Coons Crossing Road to City of Mechanicville, $500,000. Saratoga County will construct a multi-use trail to extend the existing Zim Smith Trail at its current terminus in the town of Halfmoon, east to Mechanicville.
The project is currently in the preliminary design phase and the county has initiated the right-of-way acquisition process for the necessary portions to construct the trail. The trail will be paved, providing accessible recreational opportunities for local residents and tourists.
• Town of Ballston Microenterprise Program, $200,000. Funds will be used to assist in the establishment of a Microenterprise program.
• Town of Corinth, Water System Operation and Maintenance Consolidation, $400,000. The town will consolidate the operation, reporting and maintenance of its water system into the village of Corinth system. Both the town and village are committed to increasing efficiency of water delivery and reduce the costs associated with this delivery. This would be achieved by shifting the technical and administrative water supply duties from the town to the village, which translates into savings for taxpayers and water users in the village and town, and will ensure high quality water for residents.
• Village of Corinth Wastewater Facility Improvements, $1 million. Funds will be used to help construct a new waste water treatment plant.
• Village of Corinth Wastewater Preliminary Engineering Report, $78,000. The village will complete an engineering report to identify sources of inflow and infiltration to the village’s sanitary sewer collection system and develop recommendations for rehabilitation.
During Round VI, members from the 10 Regional Councils traveled to Albany to make in-person presentations of their proposals to the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT). Over the course of two days, the SIAT, which is composed of state agency commissioners and policy experts, heard from each of the Regional Councils directly, reviewed the progress being made on projects that have previously received state funding, and assessed the regions’ strategic plan implementations and proposals for funding in 2016.
This year, all 10 REDCs competed for designation as a “Top Performer.” The five Top Performers will receive up to $25 million in additional Empire State Development grant funding to support priority projects, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region is eligible for up to an additional $15 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.