$10 million grants go to Haverstraw, Ossining
The Dutchess County drought continues in the quest for big money for downtown redevelopment.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Monday (Nov. 22) that Haverstraw, a Rockland County town of 37,000, and Ossining, a 25,000-person village in Westchester County, will each receive $10 million as the Mid-Hudson region’s winners of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).
There have been four awards announced in the fifth round of the program, which is designed to transform downtowns into walkable, vibrant neighborhoods. Troy won to develop its Riverwalk district and New York City to develop Chinatown. The past winners from the Mid-Hudson were Peekskill, New Rochelle, Kingston and Middletown.
For the first time this year, the state expanded its grants to $200 million, giving each of the 10 economic development regions the potential to receive $20 million for distribution to one or two communities.
Beacon officials had hoped their application would earn the first award for a Dutchess County municipality since the program launched in 2016.
Drawing on recommendations from its Main Street Access Committee, Beacon’s proposal included plans for a series of “pocket parks” surrounded by mixed-used buildings along Main Street; job creation and affordable housing in transformed public parking lots; green infrastructure, including solar canopies over parking decks; public transit connecting Main Street and the riverfront; and a bicycle boulevard linking residential areas with schools, parks and commerce.
Mayor Lee Kyriacou said on Tuesday that the city’s plans remain the same; “we just pace it differently” without the state award. The first step is to bring forward a publicly owned property, such as a municipal parking lot, for redevelopment, he said.
Some of the factors that the Mid-Hudson Economic Development Council said it used to judge submissions included a municipality’s ability to capitalize on private and public investment; embrace modern zoning codes and parking standards; integrate “complete streets” plans, energy efficiency, and transit-oriented development, and bring jobs into downtown.
In addition, the state said that a downtown must be “an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, incomes, genders, identities, abilities, mobilities and cultural backgrounds,” while the municipality should have conducted “an open and robust community engagement process.”
The state called Haverstraw’s downtown a “high-density neighborhood close to the Hudson riverfront” where town officials have committed to revitalization through multiple completed and ongoing projects, including mixed-use developments, a waterfront esplanade and streetscape improvements.
With its DRI application, the town aims to create an “inclusive, 21st-century urban center” by redeveloping vacant space, expanding public space and increasing access and economic activity around the waterfront, while embracing the diverse history of the area.
Ossining’s submission also focused on its waterfront district, the state said. The village’s downtown is already listed on the state and national historic registers, with previous impactful projects including a mixed-use development with a waterfront park, promenade, beach and fishing pier on a former brownfield; the Sing Sing Kill Greenway; and the ongoing Sing Sing Prison Museum project. With DRI funding, the village said it plans to call on its business community to improve resident services, increase access to and the economic impact of its waterfront, expand public space and repurpose areas for development.
The winning communities will develop strategic plans through community input aided by state planners and technical support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to integrate carbon-neutral principles.