NEW PALTZ – The Center for Research, Regional Education, and Outreach (CRREO) at the State University of New York at New Paltz is one of 10 members of the Mid-Hudson Sustainability Planning Consortium, a group that recently received an $800,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency’s (NYSERDA) Cleaner, Greener Communities Program (CGC). The grant funding will be used to develop and implement a regional sustainability plan. Other consortium members are: the Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Sullivan County governments; the Town of Greenburgh; the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium; the Pace University Land Use Law Center Mayors’ Redevelopment Roundtable; and the Northern and Southern Westchester Energy Action Consortia.
The Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan, in alignment with the strategic plan of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, will outline the region’s vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future. In addition, the plan will identify activities or projects that will have the greatest impact on reducing air pollution (particularly carbon emissions), increase energy efficiency and encourage renewable energy development within the region. Up to $90 million will be available in the second phase of the CGC program for the implementation of plans.
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the CGC Program in his 2011 State of the State address. It empowers regions to create more sustainable communities by funding smart development practices. Planning teams are partnering with public and private experts across a wide range of fields, along with community residents, to lead the development of regional sustainability plans, and to implement the projects that will significantly improve the economic and environmental health of a region. This effort will guide integrated, sustainable solutions—from statewide investments to regional decision-making on land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and environmental practices—to improve the region’s quality of life.
CRREO Director Gerald Benjamin co-chairs the consortium’s solid waste working group. CRREO Deputy Director KT Tobin serves on the transportation/land use/livable communities working group. New Paltz sociology professor Brian Obach serves on the agriculture working group.
Widespread citizen participation in the regional sustainability planning process is being sought from people throughout the seven-county region. Information about the consortium, and opportunities to engage, may be found at www.engagemidhudson.com.
CRREO was established in 2007 to further engage the college and its people with communities, governments, not-for-profits and businesses across our region. CRREO conducts and publicizes research on regional topics; creates and directs select institutes focusing on specific topics of regional interest; connects and partners with local governments, not-for-profits and businesses to initiate reforms and advocate for best practices; contracts to assess the performance of public and not-for-profit agencies and programs; and works to foster intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement. For more information about CRREO visit www.newpaltz.edu/crreo or call 845-257-2901.