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MHREDC Rewriting Plan Over Next Three Months; Rockland’s Share of Rewards In Last Round of State Funding Lags Behind Rest Of The Region
What does Rockland County need to stimulate its economy and make it a desirable place to “live, work, and play”? That question’s being kicked around by think tanks and planners and industry leaders – and has become even more urgent in the post-pandemic economy, which gave us a new lens through which to look at housing, workplace, and development issues.
To help decipher answers for these pressing questions, New York State has hired Pattern For Progress, a Newburgh-based think tank, to update what’s known as the economic development plan for the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC). As part of the process, Pattern For Progress, Empire State Development and MHREDC will be rewriting its plan over the next three months, as well as hosting public input sessions.
The Rockland County Input Session will take place by ZOOM on Sept. 8 from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
The MHREDC is an economic advisory board representing seven Mid-Hudson counties (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester). It is one of ten Regional Economic Development Councils in the state.
The Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) guide state decisions on funding through a plan that was first created in 2011. The plan sets regional strategies and goals that give the state a roadmap for economic development, job creation, and community revitalization.
Many know the plan best as the guidelines that must be followed when applying the CFA (Consolidated Funding Application) and other programs which are scored for compliance with the regional plan.
The Hudson Valley region has received $818.3 million since the plan was created, according to the MHREDC’s 2022 annual report. Rockland County, as cited by a Rockland County Economic Development & Tourism press release, has raked in $48.8 million since the inception of the program – or just 6 percent of the awards over nearly 13 years.
In Round XII, the last round of funding, only two Rockland County entities received funding. The Village of Haverstraw’s redevelopment of the “Chair Factory” site received $1 million for infrastructural improvements intended to stabilize the Hudson River shoreline and create a waterfront promenade and pedestrian walkway.
And the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble received $86,000 from the Market New York program, for the Phoenix Festival Live Arts in the Hudson Valley, a six-week outdoor program.
In contrast to Rockland County, Orange County received nearly $5.4 million for nine awards, including a $1.2 million for Storm King for two new buildings, $1.5 million for the Milk Factory, an adaptive re-use of the Borden Milk Condensery to become a “small village” including a boutique hotel, winery/distillery, restaurant, spa and retail in Walden, and a host of smaller grants.
And Westchester County received 16 grants totaling more than $8.9 million – the most for any county — including $1.5 million to the Electric Owl Studios in Hastings-on-Hudson, an LEED certified multi-media production studio, $1 million for Phase 4 of the Saw Mill River daylighting project in Yonkers, and $1 million to the Village of Ossining for construction of a multi-modal transportation hub.
Sullivan County, like Rockland County, only received two awards in Round XII, though Sullivan’s awards totaled $3 million compared to Rockland’s total of $1,086,000.
Dutchess pulled in $8.4 million in funding for 13 projects, Ulster County scored $6.6 million for 13 projects, and Putnam received $2.75 million for three projects.
Each Regional Council is essentially the voice of its region, advising agencies on the programs and projects most valuable to the region. Typically, councils are made up of community, business, academic leaders. According to the Regional Council website, four Rockland County representatives sit on the council: Sabrina HoSang Jordan, Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Food Delights, Matt Rand, CEO, Howard Hanna | Rand Realty, Robin E. Rosenberg, President and CEO, GARNER Historic District, and Al Samuels, President and CEO, Rockland Business Association.