Albany backs Island downtown-rehab efforts

Renew and improved: The Renew Hempstead project has received a proverbial shot in the arm from Albany.

Three Long Island downtown-restoration projects were among 75 statewide rehabilitation efforts earning state funds Thursday through Albany’s Restore New York Communities initiative.

All told, project manager Empire State Development – Albany’s main economic-development engine – doled out nearly $40 million in Round 4 of the competitive initiative, which Gov. Andrew enacted as part of the state’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget

Gov. Cuomo: Stronger downtowns, stronger local economies.

Round 4 began in June 2016 with statewide towns and villages applying for program funds to offset the costs of demolition, deconstruction and rehabilitation work at vacant, abandoned, condemned or surplus properties.

In a statement announcing the funding round, the governor said the year-old initiative was “laying the foundation for a more prosperous New York for all.”

“These projects will help bring new vitality and opportunities for growth to communities across New York by transforming blighted properties and making key infrastructure investments,” Cuomo said. “With this funding, we are helping to build stronger regional economies.”

Included in the fourth funding round was approximately $1.45 million for three Long Island projects. The Town of Riverhead is slated to receive $500,000 to help with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of three buildings, part of a $30 million town effort focused on affordable housing and retail development, while the Village of Port Jefferson will also receive $500,000 to put toward its Upper Port Urban Renewal project.

Also scoring this round was the Town of Hempstead, which received $458,470 to help redevelop deteriorated properties along Grand Avenue.

Restore New York Communities funding went to projects in nine of the state’s 10 economic-development zones this round, with only New York City left off the list. The biggest chunk of Round 4 change was awarded to Western New York, which received more than $7.2 million to support 14 projects.

Other sizeable stipends were earmarked for the Finger Lakes region (nine projects, $5.5 million), the Mid-Hudson Region (10 projects, $5.4 million) and the Mohawk Valley region (nine projects, $4.6 million). The Long Island region’s three projects and $1.45 million haul were both Round 4 lows.

A complete list of Restore New York Communities’ Round 4 projects and payouts is available here.