New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that DEC's Climate Smart Communities Grants Program has awarded $7.3 million to municipalities across the state as part of the $763 million in Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards announced on Dec. 18. Established in 2016, this 50/50 matching grant program for municipalities supports climate change adaptation and the local reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The grants also provide support for communities seeking to become State-certified Climate Smart Communities. The Climate Smart Community Grant Program is one of 21 programs included in the REDC awards.

Commissioner Seggos said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo, New York's $300 million Environmental Protection Fund is providing much-needed resources to local governments across the state to accelerate actions to combat climate change. These Climate Smart Community awards empower municipalities to become more resilient and adapt to the potentially devastating effects of climate change."

Two-hundred-and-forty-five New York State municipalities have adopted the Climate Smart Communities Pledge to become registered Climate Smart Communities and engage in programs to increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote renewable energy and a green economy. These registered Climate Smart Communities can also work toward Climate Smart Community Certification by documenting completion of specific, local actions. Each registered Climate Smart Community may choose to undertake those actions most appropriate for its particular objectives, capacity, and other circumstances. Completion of these actions allows the community to earn points toward designation as a Certified Climate Smart Community. The Climate Smart Community Certification Grants support communities undertaking certification actions.

Beyond supporting Climate Smart Community certification, the Climate Smart Community grants support projects that advance Governor Cuomo's climate change and clean energy goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating flood risk, and preparing for extreme heat and weather events. Information on the Climate Smart Communities is available at https://climatesmart.ny.gov.

Locally, the programs receiving funding are as follows:

  • The city of Kingston was awarded $60,000 for its Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. The city is preparing a comprehensive city-wide pedestrian and bicycle master plan that will inventory and assess all existing sidewalks and bike paths and perform an equity-demand analysis and a gap analysis to identify a cohesive non-motorized transportation network that, when completed, will link neighborhoods and business areas together, as well as to the Kingston Greenline and the Empire State Trail.
  • The city of Kingston received $772,752 for its Safe and Accessible Flatbush and Foxhall Avenues project. The city of Kingston is enhancing bicycle and pedestrian facilities along portions of Flatbush and Foxhall Avenues. Sidewalks, railroad crossing facilities, sidewalk ramps, painted crosswalks, driveway aprons, pedestrian waiting stations, and 56 street trees are included in the improvements. The project will increase safety along the corridor and at the railroad crossings, support an increase in non-motorized transportation and connect low-income neighborhoods to commercial centers.
  • Sullivan County's Department of Public Works was awarded $934,084 for its Hamlet of Kohlertown Flood Risk Reduction Project. The county will construct an overflow pipeline to alleviate repetitive flooding in the hamlet of Kohlertown. Excessive storm water flow to a tributary of the East Branch of the Callicoon Creek causes flooding of residences, businesses, and several roads in the in the area.
  • The town of Amenia received $17,208 for Climate Smart Community Certification Actions. The town will pursue certification through the completion of two CSC actions. Completion of a road-stream crossing vulnerability assessment will determine climate vulnerabilities associated with bridges and culverts. Completion of climate resiliency planning will identify gaps in the town's policies regarding climate vulnerability and adaptation, which will help guide future policy and project direction.
  • The town of Dover was awarded $14,723 for its Climate Smart Sustainability Update to Comprehensive Plan. The town will amend its comprehensive plan to include a sustainability chapter. The sustainability chapter will articulate a vision, guiding principles, action plan, and sustainability evaluation measures to promote economic growth while protecting the town's environmental assets.
  • The town of Fallsburg received $168,713 for its Mongaup Road Culvert Right Sizing project. The town is replacing an undersized culvert with two aluminum box culverts to reduce flood risk along a tributary to the East Mongaup River in Hurleyville.
  • The town of North East was awarded $29,708 for its Climate Smart Community Certification Actions. The town of North East and the village of Millerton will join forces to work toward Climate Smart Community Certification and will inventory government greenhouse gas emissions and create climate action plans, evaluate bridges and culverts for flooding vulnerability, and perform climate resiliency planning analysis that will identify gaps in climate vulnerability and adaptation policies.
  • The town of Ossining received $100,000 to complete Climate Smart Communities Certification Actions. The town will complete a comprehensive plan with sustainability elements and a plan for bicycling and walking. The bicycling and walking plan will be a chapter in the comprehensive plan and will build on the very successful Millwood-Ossining Go! Trail Plan.
  • The town of Philipstown was awarded $6,000 for its Climate Smart Communities Campaign. The town will complete several certification actions, including climate smart resiliency planning, as part of moving toward designation as a Certified Climate Smart Community. The goal of the project is to gather information about the best strategies for mitigating the town's contribution to climate change and for adapting the community to the inevitable effects of a changing climate.
  • In addition, the town of Philipstown received $9,670 to inventory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a consumption-based inventory. Consumption-based GHG inventories trace goods and services to their source and provide a higher level of detail than standard GHG inventories. The town will use these data and analysis to set emission reduction targets in its climate action plan.
  • The town of Poughkeepsie was awarded $45,000 for its Comprehensive Plan Update with Sustainability Elements. The town will update its 2007 comprehensive plan, which successfully introduced mixed-use zoning and greenspace preservation strategies. Drawing on recent pedestrian infrastructure planning for Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie's comprehensive plan update will include a complete streets policy, bicycle and walking infrastructure planning, and a natural resource inventory.
  • The village of Port Chester received $50,000 to develop its Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan, a climate adaptation strategy for sea-level rise along the Byram River, which connects to Long Island Sound. A large portion of the Village lies within the river's 100-year floodplain; therefore, the focus of the strategy will be on retrofit and flood proofing of existing structures.