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For Release: Tuesday, April 16, 2019

DEC Announces $1.45 Million Available for Smart Growth Grants for Adirondack and Catskill Park Communities

Grants Support Age-Friendly Economic Development, Tourism, Infrastructure Enhancements and Community Revitalization Projects

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the availability of $1.45 million in grants to promote smart growth in communities and not-for-profits in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. DEC, in partnership with the Department of State and the Adirondack Park Agency, is soliciting applications for projects that link environmental protection, economic development, and community livability within the forest preserves. The focus for this round of Smart Growth Grant applications is creating age-friendly communities. Age-friendly projects help create more livable communities for people of all ages and applicants are encouraged to submit projects that enhance these characteristics.

"The Adirondack and Catskill parks are more than vacation spots with vast mountainous and scenic regions of protected lands," said Commissioner Seggos. "The parks are composed of public parklands and private property, with more than 100,000 permanent residents and more than 100 municipal governments and hamlets. Smart growth projects enable the communities in the parks to capitalize on their unique natural settings to improve economic vitality, reinforce the assets of villages and hamlets, and help preserve their heritage."

DEC's Community Smart Growth Grants Program is modeled after the national "smart growth" movement and promotes growth that harmonizes economic development with the protection of the natural and built environment. For more information, including a list of previous projects awarded under the Smart Growth Grant Program, visit DEC's website.

Today's announcement marks the sixth round of Smart Growth Grants. Approximately $5 million has been awarded to communities since 2008 -- $1.5 million in the Catskill Park, and $3.5 million in the Adirondack Park. Smart growth is a renewal of land use patterns that once came naturally in the parks and can provide the right balance between development and preservation for Adirondack and Catskill communities.

Funding for this round of Community Smart Growth Grants is provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and includes $1,050,000 for Adirondack Park projects and $400,000 for projects in the Catskill Park. Eligible projects include:

  • Developing municipal comprehensive plans;
  • Providing bike-friendly routes and amenities;
  • Improving or promoting local/regional museums and theaters;
  • Improving main street facades;
  • Refurbishing historic properties;
  • Providing community-based tourism programs and activities;
  • Creating new recreational opportunities;
  • Developing multi-use trails;
  • Installing informational signage and kiosks;
  • Enhancing parks and public spaces;
  • Updating land use laws;
  • Improving visitor centers;
  • Beautifying tourism sites; and
  • Providing sidewalks in hamlets and villages.

Applicants must be a county, town, or village located wholly or partially within the Adirondack or Catskill parks or a not-for-profit organization. Partnerships are encouraged. Projects submitted must be located wholly within the borders of the Adirondack Park or anywhere within a town or village that lies wholly or partially within the Catskill Park and must be consistent with the Smart Growth principles outlined in the grant program Request for Applications.

The Request for Applications is available through the NYS Grants Gateway and the deadline to apply is 3 p.m. June 7, 2019.

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