Mount Vernon Mayor Richard W. Thomas announced in a statement, Thursday evening, that the City of Mount Vernon was awarded over $2,000,000 in today’s Regional Economic Development Council ceremony.
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations.
The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. The city of Mount Vernon is part of the Mid-Hudson region borders New York City, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is near the center of the country’s busiest rail corridor, boasts six interstate highways, and easy access to six international airports. With over 30 colleges and universities, the Hudson Valley maintains a highly educated labor force.
The Mid-Hudson region was awarded a total of $83.3 million, receiving the most funding of New York’s 10 regions. This region’s seven counties are geographically, demographically, and economically diverse, with a mix of urban areas, waterfront cities, rural villages, farmlands, and forests. One of those counties is Westchester County. Westchester County received $12.5 million in funding for various Westchester projects, which is the highest of any ten regions in the state.
The city of Yonkers received $4.4 million from the REDC, the most funding in Westchester County.
Among the county’s winners was the City of Yonkers, receiving $2.4 million for the Saw Mill River Daylighting project and $2 million for a proposed $25 million sports and entertainment center in downtown Yonkers. The Yonkers Sports & Event Center to be built by the Armory Foundation is a proposed 137,000-square-foot complex,
The Y0nkers Sports & Event Center is slated to be built two blocks from the Hudson River, above the existing Kawasaki rail car building at 29 Wells Avenue, an area abutting new restaurants and housing. The center would include a one-story, 5,000-to-6,000-seat track and field complex. Its 200-meter hydraulic indoor track could be used as either a banked track or flat track.
Much of the project’s funding is due to come from government sources, with the Armory Foundation planning to ask the REDC for another $2 million next year. The Foundation expects to contribute $2.5 million through private fundraising and another $3.6 million is expected from commercial sponsors. The project is also expected to create 230 construction jobs and an estimated 150 permanent jobs.
The projects chosen for funding are evidence of clear economic development here in Westchester and the Hudson Valley region, “particularly in urban centers,” reports Westchester Magazine.
“The diversity of projects funded builds on the ‘live, work, play’ theme,” Business Council of Westchester CEO Marsha Gordon.Gordon tells Westchester Magazine. “It shows that the region is an economic and positive place for people to work because businesses are investing here.”
Other notable Westchester projects to receive funding include:
• $750,000 to the Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College, the first new dental college in the state in nearly 50 years
• $602,879 to the Village of Briarcliff Manor for consolidation of its water supply and transmission system
• $520,000 for restoration of historic Memorial Field in Mount Vernon into a premier sports and entertainment venue with multi-sport field, tennis courts, fitness center and bleachers
• $500,000 to Historic Hudson River Towns to embark on a first-rate educational and historical museum at Sing Sing prison in Ossining
• $500,000 to City of New Rochelle and AKRF to convert two existing one-way streets (Main and Huguenot) into two-way streets
• $490,000 for the City of White Plains for a strategic marketing program to draw tourists to the downtown
• $400,000 to Historic Hudson Valley to complete the restoration of Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow.
• $159,937 to Historic Hudson Valley to promote the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor
• $96,000 to Westhab Inc. for the expansion of Phase 2 of its Ready to Work program that provides job training for adults with barriers to employment.
• $75,000 to ArtsWestchester for its Suffrage Now exhibition celebrating New York’s historic role in the path of the 19th Amendment
In addition to the $520K awarded for the Memorial Field renovation, Mayor Thomas announced last Thursday, Mount Vernon was awarded $1,641,928 to investigate and repair the city’s aging sewer infrastructure and $40,000 for an arts and cultural master plan to develop and support creative works. That would make the City of Mount Vernon the municipality to receive the second most funding in Westchester County from the REDC.
“Through the Regional Economic Development Councils, we have replaced the ‘one-size fits all’ approach to economic growth with a ‘ground-up’ strategy that focuses on cooperation and investing in regional assets to generate opportunity,” Governor Cuomo said. “By bringing together ideas from local government and community leaders with state resources, we are giving these councils the tools to create jobs and drive economic activity in their communities for generations to come. I congratulate the Regional Councils on their awards, and look forward to continuing to work together to build a stronger New York for all.”