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Mid-Hudson Regional Coalition Receives $865,000 for Cleaner, Greener Communities Regional Sustainability Planning

(June 25, 2012)

Mid-Hudson Regional Coalition Receives $865,000 for Cleaner, Greener Communities Regional Sustainability Planning

A coalition of Mid-Hudson counties, towns and organizations has received $865,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a comprehensive smart growth plan for regional sustainability. This plan is part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major environmental initiative announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last year.

The coalition, comprised of Dutchess County, Orange County, Putnam County, Rockland County, Sullivan County, Ulster County, Town of Greenburgh, Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition, Southern Westchester Energy Action Coalition, Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council will develop a smart growth plan that encompasses the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) area. Orange County and the Town of Greenburgh will lead the planning process for the region.

“The Mid-Hudson Region looks to create a sustainable future by taking a regional approach to economic development and job creation. The Mid-Hudson Region is unique in its diversity of municipalities that range from densely developed communities in Westchester County to rural agricultural land use in Ulster,” said Dennis Murray, President of Marist College, Mid-Hudson REDC Co-Chair.

"This is an important state initiative because sustainability and economic development must go hand-in-hand," said Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, President & CEO, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Mid-Hudson REDC Co-Chair. "One of the strategies in our economic development plan is protection and leveraging of our region's tremendous natural infrastructure, as our waterways, parks, farms, and landscapes are vital attractions for tourism and for maintaining a high quality-of-life that makes companies and employees want to locate in the region."

The development of a comprehensive regional sustainability plan is the first phase of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, and is intended to provide resources that each New York State region can use to develop its own vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identify actions needed to achieve that future and outline metrics to measure success. Only one award was made in each region of the state.

“This funding is an excellent opportunity for the Mid-Hudson Region to develop a plan that improves environmental quality by reducing air, water and land pollution and improves quality of life through smart growth and sustainable development,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, all New Yorkers will benefit, as the regional plans will examine each region’s available resources and provide a specific vision to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana said, “Many of us within the Mid-Hudson Region have already been taking significant action to become more sustainable by reducing energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions and identifying opportunities to create more sustainable jobs. We all need to do more. The plan will help develop a strategy for all of us in this region to do more.”

Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner noted, “We are confident that the stakeholders in the Mid-Hudson Region can continue down this path as a Regional Consortium to develop a Regional Sustainability Plan that improves environmental quality and energy efficiency, creates more walkable and bicycle friendly places, enhances economic growth, and improves overall quality of life.”

Once the plan is developed, additional funding will be available from the Cleaner, Greener Communities program on a competitive basis to implement projects that support the goals of the plans. Projects must create opportunities for achieving carbon reductions, energy efficiency savings and/or renewable energy deployment while enhancing job creation, economic investment and development consistent with the region’s sustainability and REDC strategic plan.

Orange County Planning Commissioner David Church said, “The timeline to develop this regional strategy is very short, so strong partnerships and public participation will be keys to success. Once the Strategy is completed, the communities in the Mid-Hudson REDC will be in a better position to take their own actions and to receive project funding under the Implementation Grant stage of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program.”

Greenburgh Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden noted, “This plan represents a unique opportunity for the region to come together and strength the region’s assets in order to create jobs through smarter growth in the seven counties.”

For further information on the Mid-Hudson sustainability growth planning process, please contact Thomas Madden, AICP at Town of Greenburgh, 914-993-1532, or David Church, AICP at Orange County, 845 615-3840,