Regional group makes its project recommendations for this year’s state funding

The good news is that 16 developments in four northern counties of the mid-Hudson area have been recommended as priority projects in this year’s state-driven community funding application process. The bad news is that none of them are yet assured of state support, which is generally announced from Albany the first week of December, when about $750 million in state funding ($50 million in capital grants, $75 million in tax credits and $525 million in agency funding) will be announced.

A meeting September 18 in Newburgh, the state-appointed regional economic development council (REDC) recommended 21 preferred projects, 16 of which are in the four mid-Hudson counties: seven in Orange County, five in Ulster, and two each in Dutchess and Sullivan. The other five were in Rockland and Westchester counties.

The five Ulster County projects awarded local priority status on Tuesday included the Hutton Brickyards project along the Hudson River waterfront in Kingston, site improvement funding for northern Ulster manufacturer Ametek, a new expansion plan for Bread Alone, state help with the Wildberry Lodge and Spa project in New Paltz, and expansion plans for Gopal Farms produce and creamery facilities on Springtown Road in New Paltz.

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The Academy Street Market and the expansion of Unlimited Tomorrow were the favored Dutchess projects, and growth plans at the Center for Discovery and Bethel Woods, the Sullivan projects. The Orange County projects included warehouses, industrial space, commercial and makers’ spaces, a couple of manufacturing enterprises and a winery expansion.

The support of the regional REDC counts for 20 percent of project scores, with the remaining 80 percent decided by what is inscrutably described as “agency technical review.” Recommended projects get funding often but not always. The ten million dollars in state money received this year by Kingston under the Downtown Revitalization Initiative was not included in the community funding application tally.

On Tuesday, about 20 members and staff sat around a long table in the Newburgh Unity Center. Perhaps 75 people, mostly applicants or miscellaneous supplicants, filled several rows of seats. SUNY New Paltz president Donald Christian, REDC chair for the lower Hudson Valley region, praised his colleagues for their “awesome diligence” during the project review process.

Much of the agency funding under the CFA such as sewers for Kingston and Wawarsing and an Esopus Creek watershed revitalization project will go for infrastructure. Other funding supports the arts, recreational resources or historic preservation. A likely award to Rupco’s Energy Square project, for instance, would be a pass-through to the Center for Creative Education.

The mid-Hudson region is an active one. Now in its eighth year, the CFA has handled 643 projects and processed 2768 applications, according to Empire State Development regional executive director Meghan Taylor.

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