CFA Awards Bring Putnam Optimism But Also A Challenge
The annual round of CFA (consolidated funding applications) awards are in and the Mid-Hudson Region received $59.6 million for 87 projects, far behind some regions but still a hefty amount of economic development support. Thanks to some hard work largely in part by Putnam EDC President Meghan Taylor, Putnam County will receive state funding for three major initiatives totaling $1,175,000.00 which is less than one half percent of the regions total. The largest sum goes to Clear Solution Labs, LLC, who is moving to the old Watson building in Brewster and plans to produce health and beauty products at their new manufacturing site. They garnered $1,000,000 of the CFA funds. The Town of Philipstown was promised $100,000 to link Constitution Island to the Beacon train station via a multi-use trail. Finally, the village of Cold Spring will receive $75,000 from NYSERDA to develop new zoning and historic district standards for their waterfront district. The Village of Brewster was also successful with $175,000 being added to their “Envision Brewster” efforts.
These are all great initiatives. It would be very beneficial, however, if we could develop a more comprehensive approach to applying for CFA grants and put Putnam in the running to receive significantly more funding. It appeared that much of the county was learning the process and playing catch-up, which may have put us at a disadvantage in the race for state dollars. Remember, each region is judged against each other in this annual competition, and our neighboring regions certainly are skilled at making the case for support. For example, the Capital Region received $82.8 million across 100 projects, and Long Island received $83 million for 98 projects. New York City, which did relatively poorly in this year’s competition, will certainly be ramping up its efforts for the next go-round. So the message to Putnam is clear: If we would like a stronger showing in the CFA race, we need to work more closely together, formulate a game plan, get started early, and develop a strong case for what our needs are and why they are worthy of state funding support. “This is the beginning” says Meghan Taylor, “I can assure the people of Putnam that the EDC will do everything in its power and within its abilities to ensure that we obtain the financing necessary to move our County Forward” Senator Ball says “ I would like to see Putnam get an even larger share next time, yet we need the towns and local stakeholders to get more involved to do so”, And I could not agree more. In 2014 when the CFA training class is held I expect to see every municipality represented or shame on us for not holding them accountable. The Chamber meeting in Downtown Mahopac with Congressman Maloney, Senator Ball and Assemblyman Katz, County Executive Maryellen Odell and even Sheriff Smith in attendance leaves us confident that all levels of government are on the ball seeking funding for Putnam County.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce