State bounty flows to county

COPAKE—Columbia County made the “nice” list this year.

Seventeen municipalities, organizations and entities in the county were awarded a total $2.8 million with the announcement of the sixth annual Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards last week. The county is part of the Capital Region Economic Development Council, which was awarded a total of $83.1 million and named a Top Performer in Round VI of the Empire State Development Capital Grant funding.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that more than $700 million in economic and community development funding has been awarded statewide through Round VI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Ten REDCs cover the state and only the Mid-Hudson region received more ($83.3 million) than the Capital region.

Locally the Hawthorne Valley Association (HVA) was the big winner, receiving a $600,000 grant.

According to a press release, the grant “will allow HVA to implement the Hawthorne Valley Food Hub and Sauerkraut Expansion Project, which includes: moving the farm’s growing lacto-fermentation business to Hudson to increase and expand its sauerkraut production; business incubation and job training programs—already developed with other non-profits in the area and successfully prototyped at Hawthorne Valley’s main campus.”

There will also be a “small retail component” to provide people in the neighborhood fresh, local food.

HVA will also use the funds to expand programs on business planning for aspiring farmers and its existing artisan food business incubation program and to work with other local non-profits and educational institutions.

In addition the grant will allow the HVA creamery to add co-packing capabilities specifically for small to mid-sized local dairies to help small farmers introduce new products and brands to the wholesale marketplace.

In the release HVA Executive Director Martin Ping thanked the staff at Columbia Economic Development Corporation and the Empire State Development, saying, “This long-awaited expansion into Hudson will create jobs as well as opportunities for working collaboratively with partners in the area to continue building a strong regenerative and resilient food system in the county and the region.”

The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), a major part of Governor Cuomo’s statewide economic development strategy, established 10 Regional Councils in 2011 to develop long-term strategic plans for regional economic growth. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. There’s more online about the REDC at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/capital-region/100516/29_priority_projects_round_vi

The other local grant recipients in this round are:

Historic Hudson, Inc. received $487,500 to continue restoration of the Dr. Oliver Bronson House and Estate for public benefit. The Phase III project involves completing exterior stabilization of the building and starting construction to occupy the house for “adaptive reuse.”

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail received $285,000 for work on the proposed mile-long trail segment that will link a completed portion of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. The proposed crossing will result in a potential 28 miles of continuous trail between the Wassaic Metro North Train Station and the hamlet of Hillsdale, with the ultimate goal of taking the trail north into the Village of Chatham.

Trout Unlimited, Inc., was allocated $287,280 for its Green Brook Culvert Removal Project in the Town of Chatham and $69,700 for its Noster Kill Barrier Removal Project: Reconnecting Brook Trout Habitat in the Hudson Valley.

Trout Unlimited’s Noster Kill Project will remove concrete culverts illegally constructed there by Salvatore Cascino and replace them with a rock ford on the Noster Kill in Copake. The project will ensure aquatic organism passage and permit neighboring dairy farmer Fred Barringer to cross the stream to farmland on the other side without taking a mile-long detour.

The Watershed Group was awarded $200,000 for its Original Sin Expansion. Original Sin will purchase land in Ancram to build a cidery, tasting room and plant and maintain an orchard, allowing the facility to keg and can a high-quality artisanal cider using Hudson Valley apples exclusively and crush and press on-site.

The Olana Partnership was awarded $197,878 to restore Olana’s historic 1.2-acre Kitchen Garden.The organization says the Kitchen Garden “will serve as a hands-on laboratory for The Olana Partnership’s ongoing educational programs,” adding that it would “make a significant contribution to the preservation of one of New York State’s most important historic properties.”

The Town of Claverack will receive $195,000 two projects: restoration of the historic Shaw Bridge and a study of historic sites and access points within the Claverack Creek watershed. Most of the funds–$170,000, will be used to restore the bridge, which crosses the Claverack Creek on Van Wyck Lane to its original 1870 appearance as a pedestrian and bicycle crossing.

The second award for $25,000 will allow the town “to study the existing visual and public access to important historic sites within the Claverack Creek watershed, and identify waterfront access sites that will expand public recreation opportunities, including boating and fishing,” Claverack Supervisor Kippy Weigelt said in a press release.

Supervisor Weigelt acknowledged the work of the Claverack Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, including Committee Chair Ian Nitschke, and congratulated them on the awards.

Village of Philmont, $191,250, to install a new disinfection system at the Village’s Wastewater Treatment Facility treat the effluent, reducing environmental contamination

The Millay Colony for the Arts, Inc., $75,000, which in partnership with the Hudson Opera House, will co-produce “The Mother of Us All,” Virgil Thomson’s opera on the life of Susan B. Anthony, with libretto by Gertrude Stein. Directed by R.B. Schlather with dramaturge Joan Retallack, the production will premiere during HOH’s 2017 season

Hudson Opera House, $49,500, to hire a full-time, permanent Director of Development and Marketing to increase fundraising and marketing program in support of the HOH’s newly restored historic facility and annual season

City of Hudson, $45,000, to update its draft Local Waterfront Revitalization Program to address climate change and sea level rise, as well as current planning and potential new projects. Components of the City Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance may also be updated to reflect the changing demography and local vision for an equitable and resilient City

Columbia Greene Community College, $42,630, to implement a training project designed to provide individuals residing in Columbia and Greene counties with the skills necessary to obtain a Class A or B level commercial driver’s license

The Shaker Museum at Mount Lebanon, $41,500, for “Exploring Shaker Ideas and Actions on Womens Rights: A Celebration of the Centennial of Womens Suffrage. 2017 museum programming to celebrate and explore the Shakers’ ideas and actions around women’s rights, and the lives of the women who lived at Mount Lebanon.

Town of Copake, $40,000, to develop a waterfront and revitalization strategy for four hamlets along the Roeliff Jansen Kill, Bash Bish Brook and Taghkanic Creek in the Town of Copake, focusing on community and economic revitalization, as well as recreational and tourism development

Hudson Development Corporation, $14,000, for the Hudson History Project to provide visitors with a mechanism to engage with Hudson’s past, present and future by providing self-guided walking tours that highlight historic, cultural and environmental assets.

To contact Diane Valden email

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