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CUOMO ANNOUNCES $56.5 MILLION TO REVITALIZE COMMUNITIES AND CREATE JOBS ALONG CANAL CORRIDOR AND ELSEWHERE IN UPSTATE NY
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that HUD will provide $56.5 million in grants to small communities along New York's Canal Corridor and elsewhere upstate to revitalize local economies and create jobs.
A total of $3 million of the HUD assistance will be reserved exclusively for Canal Corridor communities and much of the rest of the funds will also go to communities along the Canal.
"These funds represent a continuing commitment by the Clinton Administration to the Canal Corridor Initiative and the economic success of upstate New York," Cuomo said. "This is a wise investment that will give New Yorkers new opportunities to get good jobs, revitalize their communities, and build better tomorrows for their children. "
Cuomo said communities with populations of less than 50,000 that are not in urban counties and are not central cities in metropolitan areas are eligible to apply for the HUD assistance. Many of these small communities are along the Canal Corridor.
Cuomo said the communities can also apply for additional millions of dollars in HUD loan guarantees to strengthen initiatives that the $56.5 million in grants will fund - including job creation, tourism, economic development, housing construction and infrastructure improvements.
Cities, towns, villages and counties have until February 3 to apply for the HUD funding. HUD will award the funds in 1999, after a competition is held between communities applying for the assistance to select the best funding proposals.
Eligible upstate cities, towns and villages can get individual grants of up to $400,000, and communities along the Canal Corridor can get additional assistance of up to $300,000 each - for a total of $700,000 in maximum assistance per Canal community. Eligible counties can get up to $600,000 each, while those along the Canal can get up to $900,000 each.
"The Canal Corridor Initiative is a mighty engine that will drive economic growth and benefit families across upstate," Cuomo said. "We are showing that the Canal that was so important to New York's past will be important to its future as well."
The funding announced today comes on top of $303 million in similar assistance Cuomo announced earlier this year and last year from HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for small New York communities. The combined $359.5 million in federal investments in 1997, 1998 and 1999 is expected to create thousands of new jobs and pump tens of millions of dollars of private investment into the upstate economy.
Grant recipients are selected based on their need for funding and on the strength of their proposals to use the HUD funding for job creation, economic development and improved housing.
Cuomo launched the Canal Corridor Initiative while an Assistant Secretary at HUD to put federal resources to work as part of a long-term and coordinated commitment to upstate New York. The locally driven initiative seeks to turn the 524-mile Canal Corridor - made up of the Erie Canal and connecting waterways - into a major tourism destination that will spark economic development across upstate.
When the Erie Canal was opened in 1825 - at a construction cost of $7 million - it transformed New York by creating a shipping route between the Atlantic Ocean (via the Hudson River) and the Great Lakes. For years it played a vital role in commerce, but it was replaced earlier in this century by superhighways.
The Canal Corridor Initiative seeks to transform the canal and its connecting waterways into a prosperous tourist destination by funding the construction of marinas, recreational trails, restaurants, shops and other businesses.
Cuomo made today's announcement from Washington via TV satellite and conference call with mayors, other local officials and reporters around upstate New York, and drew strong support from elected officials around the state for the HUD assistance.
Mayor Clyde Rabideau of Plattsburgh said: "This assistance from HUD is good for New York's economy and good for the people of this state."
Mayor Fred Pirelli of Newark said: "The projects from the first round of Canal Corridor grants have produced tangible results. We believe additional Canal Corridor grant monies would allow us to continue this success."
Mayor Joanne Wisor of Geneva said: "Geneva is ready, willing and able to seek funding again for our own renaissance. We have already begun using Canal Corridor Initiative funds to make significant improvements to the city's waterfront that are designed to create jobs, provide an attractive tourist destination and improve the quality of life of our residents."
Cuomo said recipients of HUD assistance are already making great progress in revitalizing communities along the Canal Corridor, citing examples that included: Lockport Locks and Tours, which has received $750,000 in HUD funding; the $1.9 million Canal Landing Project to reconnect Fulton to the Oswego Canal; the creation of 98 jobs at Sealright Packaging in Fulton with the help of $2.2 million in HUD assistance; the creation of the Capital Region Maritime Center in Glenville, where disadvantaged young people will learn boat-building and study environmental science; and construction scheduled to begin in the spring in Amsterdam, Geneva, Macedon and Palmyra on marinas, parks, visitor centers and trails.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009