HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-203
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Monday
Or contact your local HUD office August 7, 2000


HUDSON VALLEY, NY - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $19.4 million dollars in economic development assistance to seven cities in the Hudson River Valley that is expected to create more than 500 local jobs.

Cuomo announced the grants and guaranteed loans during visits to Haverstraw, Peekskill and Beacon. The funding will go to those three communities, as well as to Newburgh, Ossining, Poughkeepsie and Yonkers, which together form the Hudson River Partnership 2000.

"By coming together to develop an regional plan for economic development, these communities have taken a giant step towards ensuring a more promising future for the entire Hudson Valley," Cuomo said. "Today's announcement will help create more tourism, more jobs, more private sector investment -- much like what the regional approach along the Canal Corridor has already begun to produce."

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said: "This initiative strikes an important balance between economic growth and environmental revitalization. These funds will help create opportunities throughout the Hudson Valley while restructuring the region's waterfront."

U.S. Representative Benjamin Gilman, who joined Cuomo in Haverstraw, said: "I am pleased that Secretary Cuomo and HUD have decided to commit federal funding to Rockland County and the Village of Haverstraw. This funding will allow the Village to successfully begin the process of providing economic revitalization, affordable housing, and needed commuter relief for one of the Hudson Valley's unique waterfront communities."

U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey, who joined Cuomo in Beacon, said: "These projects have the potential to create new economic opportunities and revitalize the Beacon and Newburgh waterfronts. This is the kind of development that is consistent with and complementary to the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the American Heritage River designations --development that respects the history of these communities, improves the environment and takes advantage of our greatest asset, the Hudson River. I applaud the Secretary's commitment to promoting regional cooperation and welcome the additional Federal support for economic development."

Westchester Executive Andy Spano, who joined Cuomo in Haverstraw and Peekskill, said: "Partnership 2000 is a way for Hudson Valley communities to work on individual plans and then knit them together into a dynamic economic heritage activity that benefits the entire region. The HUD funding will foster economic opportunities through job growth, encourage revitalization of commercial centers that have fallen into disrepair, and increase public access to the waterfront."

About $15.8 million of the assistance comes from Economic Development Loan Guarantees under HUD's Section 108 Program, which enables communities to borrow money at reduced interest rates to create jobs, rehabilitate housing and construct large public development projects.

The remaining $3.6 million are grants from HUD's Economic Development Initiative (EDI), which helps cities to create jobs, primarily among low and moderate income residents. The EDI grants, which were developed in 1994, are often awarded in tandem with HUD's loan guarantees.

In April, HUD convened the Hudson River Initiative conference at West Point, which encouraged the development of a regional strategy for revitalizing the area. Joining Secretary Cuomo as key participants in the conference were U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, Sen. Schumer, and Rep. Gilman and Maurice Hinchey, and National Park Service Director Bob Stanton.

Information About Each of the Winning Communities

Beacon will use a $600,000 grant and $1.5 million guaranteed loan to build a ferry dock, acquire a trolley and link the waterfront with the main street corridor. Funds will also be used to make business loans ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 to local entrepreneurs. These projects will create an estimated 100 new jobs.

Beacon Mayor Clara Lou Gould, who joined Cuomo in Beacon, said: "The City of Beacon's Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan was approved eight years ago. In the past few years, with the help of the Governor, DEC and DOS, we've seen some of our goals become reality, and other improvements begin. We're delighted at the prospect of having the Hudson River Partnership 2000 build on those accomplishments and take us another big step forward."

Haverstraw will use a $500,000 grant and $1 million guaranteed loan to help a business acquire land for a parking facility for the Haverstraw to Ossining ferry. The project is part of the first phase of waterfront revitalization that when completed will include affordable housing, retail, and related economic development. The project developer will provide more than $1 million of equity for land purchase and the owner will contribute $630,000 in additional improvements.

Haverstraw Mayor Bud Wasmer said: "Secretary Cuomo and the Partnership 2000 initiative is a major contribution to the growth and economic development of the village and the entire region. My compliments to the Secretary for supporting our vision of the rebirth and revitalization of the historic jewel that is the Hudson Valley."

Newburgh will use a $500,000 grant and $1 million guaranteed loan to construct a pier and 141-slip marina as part of a $3.5 restaurant and retail project on the site of the old Newburgh-Beacon Ferry. The city has agreed to help the developer fund the project, which will eventually lead to renewed services between Beacon and Newburgh. These projects will create an estimated 41 new jobs, and will be used as leverage in obtaining an additional $600,000 from the state and $300,000 from the developer.

Newburgh Mayor Mary Crabb, who joined Cuomo in Beacon, said: "This grant will be a great help to us in expediting the important economic development or our long neglected waterfront."

Ossining will use a $500,000 grant and $8 million guaranteed loan to revitalize and develop 225 waterfront rental housing units, 10 percent of which will be reserved for low- and moderate-income housing. The grants will also develop 16,000 square feet of commercial space and parking, and construct a new ferry dock that will aid commuters traveling to eastern Rockland County and the rail station. These projects will create an estimated 244 new jobs and will leverage additional funding from the Westchester County Industrial Development Authority through sales and county mortgage recording tax exemptions.

Village of Ossining Mayor Tom Cambariere, who joined Cuomo in Haverstraw, said: "We are excited and grateful for all the attention our Federal and State Governments pay to our beautiful Hudson Valley. We are reclaiming our river for our people forever. The people of Ossining are most grateful to the Administration and to the Secretary, for investing in our riverfront. Be assured that we will put the dollars to the best possible use."

Peekskill will use a $500,000 grant and $1.3 million guaranteed loan to help a local business acquire several waterfronts buildings and a marina, and to construct a new building that will house a custom mill and countertop manufacturing shop. These projects will create an estimated 37 new jobs and will be used to leverage an additional $2 million in funding from the Hudson Valley Bank. Peekskill Mayor John Kelly was on-hand for the announcement.

Poughkeepsie will use a $500,000 grant and $2 million guaranteed loan to convert the now vacant Luckey Platt Building into 41 affordable housing units with artisans lofts, gallery and commercial space. The city also plans to provide transportation between the Luckey Platt Building and the Main Mall to a park on the banks of the Hudson.

Poughkeepsie Mayor Collette Lafuente, who joined Cuomo in Beacon, said: "HUD's grant and loan for the Artspace Project on Main Street will be one of the key elements in the revitalization of Main Street and downtown Poughkeepsie as a whole. The reuse of the Luckey Platt building will not only save a Poughkeepsie landmark, but foster an economic identity for it as well."

Yonkers will use a $500,000 grant and $1 million guaranteed loan to help a local business acquire waterfront land for a bakery. The EDI grant will be used to purchase the site and the loan will be used to purchase equipment. The Greystone Bakery, Inc., will employ 78 people and will provide vocational training, including an apprenticeship program. Yonkers has already issued $6 million in bonds to aid in financing the project.

Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, who was represented in Peekskill by Deputy Mayor Phil Amicone, said: "The City of Yonkers participation in the Hudson River Partnership 2000 is a recognition that the economic prosperity of the cities and villages of this historic river are inextricably intertwined: the economic success or failure of any community in the heritage area impacts us all. Essential to the sustainable development of the Hudson Valley community is government working together on the State and Federal level -- creating partnerships that provide the platform for the private sector to create jobs and economic opportunities for our residents. I want to thank Secretary Cuomo for the commitment he and HUD has made to the City of Yonkers and the Hudson Valley communities; and County Executive Spano and Westchester County for being the lead agency for this grant."

The Hudson River Valley annually attracts an estimated 15 million tourists who generate about $2.5 billion in revenue. In 1998, the Hudson River was designated as one of only 14 American Heritage Rivers across the nation. This followed the region's selection by Congress and the National Park Service as an American Heritage Area, an initiative to provide funding and encourage environmental restoration, as well as economic, cultural, and historic preservation.

Though the Hudson Valley saw the number of jobs increase in 1999 and often out-performs the state economy, the region faced significant economic disruption throughout the 1990s with the downsizing of major employers such as IBM, NYNEX and General Motors. Unemployment in the region is below state and national levels, but Hudson Valley cities continue to face unemployment levels far above regional, state and national averages.

In 1996, HUD, USDA and the National Park Service (NPS) launched a regional economic and community development strategy known as the Canal Corridor Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to provide federal assistance to turn the 57 communities along the 524 miles of the Erie Canal and its connecting waterways into a major tourist destination.

A 1999 Cornell University study concluded that the Canal Corridor Initiative had helped increase hotel occupancy, canal boat traffic and visitors to NPS sites, many of them adjacent to the Canal region. The study also estimated that federal investments would result in an estimated 17,000 new jobs and $447 million more annually in revenues to state and local governments, while stimulating an additional $400 million in other investments.

"Canal Corridor Initiative investments," said the report, "have provided a flexible tool that has functioned as a catalyst for economic development in Canal Corridor communities. The initiative's overall framework has encouraged regional collaboration and contributed to broader economic development goals, including the retention of manufacturing jobs."

See related HUD release #00-204, about the Cornell Report, "Diversifying and Rebuilding Local Economies." The full report also is available on line at canalcorridor.html.


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