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For Release: Tuesday, January 4, 2022

DEC Announces $11 Million for Climate Smart Community Projects

Grants Help Support State's Climate Goals through Green Infrastructure, Greenhouse Gas Reductions, and Storm Resiliency

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC's Climate Smart Communities Grant program awarded $11 million to municipalities across the State as part of the $196 million in Regional Economic Development Council awards announced by Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this month. The projects will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the ongoing impacts of climate change, including reducing flood risk, increasing natural resiliency, and relocating or retrofitting critical infrastructure.

"Municipalities that become Climate Smart Communities serve as models for others across the State by taking local action to reduce pollution and protect residents from severe weather and other consequences of our changing climate," said Commissioner Seggos. "Governor Hochul recognizes the severity of the challenges before us and these Climate Smart grants demonstrate New York State's ongoing commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping all cities, towns, and villages, especially environmental justice communities, become stronger and more resilient."

Established in 2016, this 50/50 matching grant program supports municipalities seeking to become certified Climate Smart Communities and implement projects that advance the State's climate change goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating flood risk, and helping to prepare for extreme weather. The program is jointly sponsored by seven state agencies: DEC, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority, Department of State, Department of Health, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Service. It supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires New York reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Since the program's inception, DEC awarded more than $50 million to municipalities in support of local climate mitigation and adaptation projects. More information about the grant program is available on the DEC website.

The 2021 Climate Smart Communities Grant awards include:

Capital Region

City of Albany - $2,000,000
Brevator Complete Street Project: The project will transform a wide, vehicle-oriented street into a multi-modal corridor between two of Albany's prominent arterial roads: Washington Avenue and Western Avenue. Brevator Street will be retrofitted to include new pedestrian and bicycle facilities, traffic calming, and new Bus Rapid Transit service that will serve nearby educational and job centers, including the State's Harriman Campus, SUNY University at Albany Uptown campus, All Saints Academy, Rosemont Park, and two high-traffic bus lines along Washington and Western avenues. By transforming Brevator into a complete street, the City of Albany and CDTA will decrease vehicle trips, greenhouse gas emissions, and make walking, bicycling, and transit safer as well as more attractive as primary transportation options.

Village of Hunter - $1,970,000
Firehouse Relocation: The village of Hunter will relocate the village fire station 0.15-miles west of the current site outside of the regulatory floodway and the 100-year and 500-year flood hazard areas of the Schoharie Creek. The existing fire station and back building will be demolished and replaced with a municipal park with streamside access. Currently, the existing fire station becomes inaccessible during even moderate flood events due to the undersized bridge. Relocation of the firehouse will allow for the expansion of the bridge and greatly alleviate flooding throughout the village.

Town of Glenville - $610,380
Van Buren Road Trail: The town will install an eight-foot-wide asphalt bicycle and pedestrian path, painted crosswalks, and pedestrian crossing signage along the north side of Van Buren Road in Glenville connecting the Glenville Town Center, the Anderson Dog Park, and other existing greenway trails. Improved bicycle and pedestrian connectivity supports a healthy lifestyle and reduces carbon emissions by providing alternative modes of transportation and commuting. This project will help relieve traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a safer, healthier route from residential areas to the Glenville Town Center and public open spaces.

City of Cohoes - $460,000
Streetscape Improvements: This project is a unique and creative streetscape improvement project on White Street, a mixed-use business district in the center of downtown and a component of the city's Brownfield Opportunity Area nomination study. It includes the reconstruction of approximately 600 linear feet of sidewalk, development of a pocket park with flexible gathering space for a wide range of activities, a bike hub and repair station, an urban composting and recycling station, a bus stop, and an environmental justice mural. This project compliments previous mass transit improvements within the city and encourages increased residential occupancy and alternative modes of travel and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.

Warren County - $40,000
Organics Management Plan: The county will develop an organics management plan that will assess strategies for reducing food waste, as well as the diversion of food waste from the landfill and waste incinerator to reduce the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Town of Niskayuna - $25,000
Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Government Operations Climate Action Plan: The town will conduct inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, both from government operations and from the whole community. The town will also develop a climate action plan focused on reducing emissions from its government operations.

Albany County - $15,000
Greenhouse Gas Inventories Update: The county will update the government operations and community greenhouse gas inventories to inform policymaking, climate change mitigation, and capital investments.

Central New York

Town of Cazenovia - $232,000
Stormwater Flood Mitigation: This project addresses two locations in the town where the existing stormwater infrastructure is increasingly unable to capture and convey runoff from intense rainfall events that are resulting from changes in climate patterns. Work includes the removal and replacement of collapsed and inadequate culverts and improperly located catch basins and storm piping to increase flow capture, removal of curbing and catch basins and repaving to provide sheet flow, a new storm sewer and swale system to intercept runoff, and a hydrodynamic separator unit for one site that will provide sediment removal to improve the quality of runoff water into a tributary of Cazenovia Lake.

Town of Geddes - $219,161
Westvale Plaza Improvements: The town will implement a key recommendation from a recently adopted comprehensive plan to incorporate sidewalk extensions to Westvale Plaza and provide improved multi-modal connectivity between current and future developments along the corridor. Pedestrians are frequently observed attempting to cross busy intersections in this area and this route is used by bicyclists riding to, and from, the City of Syracuse. Implementation of this project will have a positive impact on public safety, the economy, and the quality of life for local residents.

Town of Manlius - $22,250
Climate Action Plans: The town will develop two plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, one focused on government operations and a second focused on emissions from the whole community.

Finger Lakes

City of Rochester - $225,763
Shade Structures: The city will design and construct two or three park shelters to serve as permanent shade structures within Cobbs Hill, Genesee Valley, and/or Maplewood parks. These shade structures will provide protection against harmful UV rays and help city residents prevent heat exhaustion, overheating, and sunstroke. These and other heat-related conditions are expected to become more prevalent due to the increasing impact of climate change, including hotter summers and more days with temperatures above 90 degrees.

Monroe County - $97,820
Climate Action Plan: The county will develop a climate action plan that will establish greenhouse gas reduction targets and associated inventories for both government operations and community emissions. The plan will provide data-driven strategies that will improve planning and development processes for infrastructure and buildings, energy, water resources, transportation, and waste.

City of Rochester - $40,000
Organics Management Plan: The city and multiple stakeholders will develop an organics management plan that will provide a comprehensive approach to collaboratively reducing food waste and recycling organics. This plan will complement the city's ongoing efforts, including a 2020 organics feasibility study, 2021 food waste education pilot program, and 2021 residential organics recycling pilot program.

Long Island

City of Glen Cove - $50,000
PlanGC: A master plan for the city of Glen Cove. The city will develop a new comprehensive plan, entitled PlanGC, to guide sustainable development and climate resiliency well into the city's future.

Mid-Hudson

Town of Delaware - $2,000,000
Wastewater Treatment Plant Relocation: The town will construct a new wastewater treatment plant outside of the floodplain on a recently purchased five-acre parcel in Callicoon. The current facility has reached the end of its useful life and was constructed in what is now recognized as a floodplain. The plant has sustained damage during past flood events and is at increased risk as climate change results in more frequent and heavier rainfall events for the area. The existing outfall will be maintained, and the plant has been designed to meet revised effluent limits including those for nutrient removal.

City of New Rochelle - $600,375
Complete Streets Phase IV: The city will implement the next step of its Complete Streets Plan on a section of Brook Street by improving traffic signalization and adding ADA accessible sidewalks. These improvements will allow for a better connection to the LINC - an innovative, linear, urban park designed to facilitate alternative transportation and connect diverse neighborhoods. Together these projects move the city forward in the realization of a walkable, bicycle-friendly, sustainable community, with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Town of New Castle - $500,000
ChapLine Trail: The town will construct a 1.6-mile multi-modal ChapLine trail along the Metro-North Rail Line and portions of a sewer trunk line easement. The trail will connect the Chappaqua Crossing mixed use area, Horace Greeley High School, and downtown Chappaqua. The trail will reduce the town's reliance on automobile transportation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide a healthy and convenient alternative to vehicular travel for those who live, work, or attend schools in the area and offer a scenic experience for residents and visitors as it traverses along wetlands, a gorge, woodlands, train tracks, and open meadows.

Town of Saugerties - $269,688
Kiwanis Ice Arena Air-Cooled Chiller Project: The Kiwanis Ice Arena Air-Cooled Chiller Project will replace an outdated R-134a chiller with a new, more efficient and cost effective, environmentally friendly chiller that uses R717 ammonia refrigerant. This refrigerant type will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere through leaks in traditional cooling systems to reduce energy and financial costs, eliminate commercial water treatment, and cut maintenance costs.

City of New Rochelle - $80,000
Climate Vulnerability Assessment: The city will develop a climate vulnerability assessment. The assessment will prioritize the input of disadvantaged communities within the city and advance the city's goal of creating a climate justice adaptation plan.

Ulster County - $74,000
Community Climate Action Plan: The county will develop a county-wide climate action plan focused on greenhouse gas mitigation at the community level. The final plan will be compliant with Climate Smart Communities PE2 Action: Community Climate Action Plan.

Village of Sleepy Hollow - $73,750
Government Operations and Community Climate Action Plans: The village will develop both a government operations climate action plan (CAP) and a community CAP in order to define greenhouse gas reduction targets in both sectors and provide a framework of actions for achieving those targets.

Town of Montgomery - $45,500
Bike and Pedestrian Plan: The town will develop a bicycle and pedestrian master plan to improve access to multimodal transportation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the community.

Town of Orangetown - $40,000
Comprehensive Plan Update: The town will develop an update to the 2003 comprehensive plan. The update will include provisions for combating climate change, increasing sustainability, and addressing environmental justice as well as assessing options for a significant stretch of Hudson river shoreline that has become a part of the town after the dissolution of the village of Nyack.

Mohawk Valley

Town of Whitestown - $210,000
Sauquoit Creek Flood Bench Phase 3: Phase three of the Sauquoit Creek Channel and Floodplain Restoration Program involves the construction of three floodplain benches. These benches will reduce flood stage during extreme weather events, reduce impacts of flooding to town and village properties and restore natural riverine processes by connecting Sauquoit Creek to its original floodplain. The anticipated outcomes include a reduction in the one-percent annual chance flood event, mitigation of flooding and erosion along the stream corridor, and stream bank stabilization.

Town of Oneonta - $14,000
Comprehensive Plan Update: The town will update its 2014 comprehensive plan to include sustainability, smart growth, and climate resiliency elements.

Town of Otsego - $14,000
Comprehensive Plan Update: The town will update its 2008 comprehensive plan to include sustainability elements in alignment with the related Climate Smart Communities certification action and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

North Country

Town of Plattsburgh - $388,875
New York Road Bike Lanes: The town will construct bike lanes along both sides of New York Road, reducing the current, underutilized, four-lane highway to two lanes. The bike lanes will offer a safe, healthy, and sustainable mode of transportation that will reduce vehicle miles traveled and emission of greenhouse gases.

Southern Tier

Town of Sherburne - $30,000
Comprehensive Plan Update: The town will update its 2004 comprehensive plan to include sustainability and resiliency elements in alignment with the related Climate Smart Communities certification action.

Western New York

Erie County - $502,438
Plate to Field: Enacting Municipal Organics Management Programs
The Plate to Field Project will provide structure, training, technical assistance, and education and outreach to assist five participating municipalities in Erie County with new or expanded food waste collection services including residential food waste drop-off locations. This program builds on the county's successful food waste diversion programs for county facilities and expands the use of the Alden Correctional Compost Facility where all collected waste will be composted. The five participating municipalities will also develop organic waste management plans to further improve the management of organic waste at the local level and reduce the emission of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Erie County -$100,000
Heat Emergency Plan: The county will develop a heat emergency plan, including a local heat vulnerability assessment, to address the increasing frequency and severity of extreme heat situations.

Town of Amherst - $30,000
Organics Management Plan: The town will develop an organics management plan to evaluate strategies for food waste prevention and recovery as well as assess the feasibility of expanding a pilot food scrap recycling initiative for residents that was created in response to the New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act.

Village of Little Valley - $20,000
Comprehensive Plan: The village will develop and adopt a comprehensive plan with sustainability elements to guide climate-focused investment and development within the community.

These grants are part of a larger program to support community engagement in local climate action. There are currently 349 registered Climate Smart Communities, representing more than 9.4 million New Yorkers. To be designated a registered community, municipalities make a commitment to act on climate change by passing a formal resolution that includes a 10-point pledge. Since 2014, more than 80 municipalities completed the rigorous review process to be designated as certified Climate Smart Communities. These certified communities have gone beyond the pledge to complete and document a suite of actions that mitigate and adapt to climate change at the local level. More information about the certification program is available at the Climate Smart website (leaves DEC website).

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy-wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

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