ALBANY, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday, November 8 that communities and not-for-profits in the Adirondack Park — which encircles much of Herkimer County — are eligible to receive grants from New York State for projects to help preserve the park.

According to Governor Hochul, $3.7 million will be disbursed by the Department of Environmental Conservation in Smart Growth Grants, with Adirondack Park communities receiving $2.7 million of that disbursement. These grants have been disbursed since 2007 and are focused on uniting economic development with environmental protection. This round of grants will be for projects that focus on a threefold goal: environmental protection, economic development, and community livability in the form of affordable housing in rural areas in the park.

“Through the Smart Growth Grant Program, we’re boosting economic development and enhancing the quality of life for New Yorkers in our rural communities,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “As New Yorkers continue to face high housing costs in communities across our state, it’s increasingly hard for families to find places to live in destination towns such as those in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. By prioritizing housing through the smart growth program, we can help communities increase their local work force, stabilize property values, and lower the cost of living for residents.”

The announcement brings forth the seventh round of grants through the Smart Growth method since its inception in 2007. In total, communities in the Adirondack Park have received over $4.5 million in funds to help revitalization projects. These projects usually include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing bike-friendly routes and amenities;
  • Improving or promoting local/regional museums and theaters;
  • Main Street façade improvement;
  • Refurbishing historic properties;
  • Providing community-based tourism programs and activities;
  • Creating new recreational opportunities;
  • Multi-use trail development;
  • Wayfinding and informational signage and kiosks;
  • Enhancing parks and public spaces;
  • Zoning updates;
  • Visitor center improvements;
  • Beautifying tourism sites; and
  • Providing sidewalks in hamlets and villages.

“The Smart Growth Grant program is an important opportunity for Adirondack and Catskill communities to address a broad range of needs and goals,” Adirondack Park Agency Executive Driector Barb Rice said in a statement. “For more than a decade, this program has resulted in the implementation of environmentally sustainable projects that increased the quality of life for park residents. Governor Hochul’s prioritization of affordable housing targets a critical issue confronting many communities. We strongly encourage municipalities and not-for-profits to take advantage of this program dedicated specifically to the Adirondacks and the Catskills.”

The grant program can also be used to update existing plans, as well as applications for development of comprehensive or local land use plans.

The request for applications is available through the New York State Grants Gateway. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 31 at 3 pm.