CARMEL, N.Y. – County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced on Thursday, Dec. 10, that Putnam County was granted funds through the fifth round of the New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative to develop a cooperative county-wide blueprint for the future.  The state is supplying $50,000 for Putnam to lead a feasibility study with the other nine municipalities within its borders that offers solutions to critical issues pertaining to economic development and tourism throughout the county.

“The study is about taking a holistic approach toward the planning of the communities in Putnam County,” said Odell. “We have learned through the years that issues such as infrastructure, sewer, water and broadband extend past the borders of individual villages and towns. By collectively working together we can combine our resources, identify appropriate areas for potential economic growth and tourism as well as find solutions for longstanding obstacles.”

The study is intended to be the first-step in a multiphase plan. Once the study determines ways to promote tourism and improving the hamlets and commercial districts, a strategic approach can be used to make the best use of available funding processes.

“Putnam County, along with the six towns and the three villages within its borders, has learned that when dealing with New York State or the federal government the results are better achieved when we work together,” said Putnam County Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra. “The findings from the feasibility study will help us to determine which projects we can move forward collectively and which ones a municipality can choose to pursue on its own.”

The Putnam County Planning Department will be working in conjunction with the towns and villages to gather the necessary information.

“Kent, like each of the other municipalities, has its own characteristics that make it a unique place in the county,” said Kent Town Supervisor Maureen Fleming. “To know that we can maintain our identities, while working together to find solutions for the issues we all have, is an important aspect of this study.  We already share services with one another but this opening us up to conversations about the big picture of Putnam County.”

Two other Putnam-specific projects were awarded grants through the REDC initiative. The Town of Patterson was awarded $22,500 to undertake a consolidation study of its two fire departments. Also, the Town of Philipstown, in a partnership with Scenic Hudson, was awarded $400,000 to design a trail between Little Stony Point and Breakneck Ridge. It is part of multiphase plan for the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail.

“I am pleased with the outcome of this year’s REDC initiative,” said Odell. “The way the funding was allocated shows the applicants the importance of planning.  Studies will be modestly funded and projects that have been done their due diligence will be supported by the state. Putnam has the potential access to more funding through the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council once we have identified the projects we want to move forward on.

The state awarded the Excelsior Job Credits program $9.6 million for future projects in the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and $38.2 million was allocated for local governments issuers to sell tax-exempt bonds for economic development, infrastructure and community revitalization projects. In addition, the region was awarded $1.7 million to use toward adopting energy efficiencies.

This was the fifth round of REDC funding. Several projects from Putnam have been granted funding in the past. Past recipients include Green Chimneys of Brewster, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Cold Spring and the Village of Brewster’s revitalization plan Envision Brewster.

The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council consists of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. It was awarded at total of $90.4 million through the REDC initiative.

Photo caption: The designing of a trail that will go from Little Stony Point to Breakneck Ridge (shown) in Philipstown was one of the projects from Putnam County awarded money from the fifth round of grants given through the New York State Regional Economic Development Council initiative.