$15 million in grants go to Catskills organizations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo handed out early Christmas presents on Thursday, Dec. 11 in the form of $709.2 million in economic and community development funding to hundreds of organizations across New York state. Several Catskills organizations, including MTC Cable, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the village of Sidney, received over a million dollars each. 

Through the program, called the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, New York State issues grants to businesses, community groups, nonprofits, and municipalities. The Catskills did well this year, picking up over $15 million overall, according to our back-of-the-envelope math.

The granting process divides the state into 10 economic development regions, and the Catskills are sliced into four of those regions: the Mid-Hudson region (Ulster and Sullivan county), the Southern Tier region (Delaware County), the Capital Region (Greene County) and the Mohawk Valley region (Schoharie County).

Being divided this year was a good thing: Two of the regions that include Catskills counties received the most funding from the state. The Mid-Hudson region got more projects (118, to be exact) funded than any other, and the Southern Tier region did well, too, coming in third for all the state's regions with 91 funded projects.

The organizations that received the largest grants in the Catskills were:

MTC Cable, a subsidiary of the Margaretville Telephone Company: $2.9 million

MTC received the largest grant in the entire Catskills region: $2.9 million to extend high-speed broadband to rural communities in the Catskills. A press release from the governor's called the project out:

This project presents a unique collaboration of telecommunications providers, a not-for-profit electric cooperative, and two economic development agencies in a partnership to extend broadband availability to the un-served residents and businesses located in the rural Delaware County Region of New York State. MTC Cable, a subsidiary of the Margaretville Telephone Company, proposes to partner with DTC Cable, a subsidiary of the Delhi Telephone Company, along with the Delaware County Electric Cooperative to extend 213 miles of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) facilities, encompassing more than 1,800 un-served residents in eight municipalities.

Catskill Mountainkeeper: $1.8 million

The nonprofit group will receive $1,857,275 to create a renewable energy outreach program in the Catskills. The organization will "engage community leaders and consumers with workshops and speaker training, solar group purchasing campaigns, renewable energy workforce development, including an Energy Corps intern program, and review and evaluation of best practices for replication in other regions through a statewide network of partners."

The town and village of Sidney, in Delaware County: Over $1 million

$1,046,5009 goes to the village of Sidney for its "resilient green streetscape program," which includes new pedestrian facilities, stormwater improvements, and a "bio retention area" in the historic district. The town and village of Sidney also get a combined $60,000 to evauluate and engineer a municipal wastewater system, and the village of Sidney gets a combined $100,000 to conduct feasibility studies for an eco-friendly park on its waterfront, a free trade zone, and a potential hotel and conference center.


We break down the Catskills grants below. Delaware County and Sullivan County both did the best, each receiving about $5.2 million in grant funds. 

Delaware County: $5.2 million

  • $2.9 million for MTC Cable for the Delaware County Broadband Initiative
  • $1,046,500 goes to the village of Sidney for its "resilient green streetscape program."
  • $100,000 to the village of Sidney to conduct feasibility studies for an eco-friendly park on its waterfront, a free trade zone, and a potential hotel and conference center.
  • $900,000 for Sportsfield Specialties, an athletics equipment company, to expand its manufacturing facility in Delhi.
  • $73,954 for Delaware County stream restoration.
  • $60,000 to the town and village of Sidney to evaluate and engineer a municipal wastewater system.
  • $37,500 goes to the Hanford Mills Museum for a marketing campaign that promotes tourist attractions along Route 28 between Kingston and Herkimer.
  • $33,600 for programmatic and development strategies at the Roxbury Arts Group
  • $25,000 goes to Delaware County and the Ulster and Delaware County Historical Societies to prepare a master plan for the Roxbury Depot for use as a rail station and year-round museum. 

Greene County: $1 million

In Greene County, the most money went to the 2015 Windham Mountain Bike World Cup and to the town of Prattsville to fund flood recovery projects.

  • $247,875 goes to the Windham Area Recreation Foundation to promote and market the 2015 Windham Mountain Bike World Cup. 
  • $231,000 goes to the town of Prattsville to build a Schoharie Creekside Trail.
  • $200,000 goes to Greene County for "the establishment of the Greene County Microenterprise Assistance Program." 
  • $100,000 goes to Greene Field Goods for the "construction of a new facility adjacent to existing facility to help expand the distribution of fresh local food."
  • $60,000 goes to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana, who are partnering on an exhibition of contemporary art entitled 'River Crossing'. 
  • $60,000 goes to the Catskill Mountain Foundation, the Greene County Council on the Arts, Masters on Main Street, the Prattsville Art Center & Residency and the Zadock Pratt Museum to create "American Masquerade," which will "bring residents from Catskill Mountain towns together with hundreds of visual and performing artists in a yearlong project."
  • $50,000 goes to Greene County to help Zoom Flume Water Park expand to create "8 full-time equivalent jobs."
  • $41,200 goes to WGXC Community Radio for a new, full-time position. 
  • $37,500 goes to Greene County Economic Development Tourism and Planning to map all existing water and wastewater treatment districts in the county.

Schoharie County: $900,000

Water improvements in the village of Richmondville and funds for the county to develop a trail from North Blenheim to Esperance top the list of Catskills-region grants in this county. (We're not including a grant for the village of Cobleskill, which we consider outside the Catskills.)

  • $535,000 to the village of Richmondville to undertake water system improvements.
  • $149,876 goes to Schoharie County to fund a multi-use trail from North Blenheim to Esperance.
  • $67,905 goes to the The Harva Company, Inc. of Schoharie to train 22 workers.
  • $67,905 goes to the village of Middleburgh for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the Schoharie Creek. Another $15,200 goes to the village to create a "Breadbasket Heritage Trail" in 2015.
  • $37,500 goes to Schoharie County for a Schoharie County Broadband Feasibility Study.
  • $30,000 to the village of Sharon to fund an engineering report to identify inflow and infiltration issues in the village. sewer system.
  • $15,000 goes to Schoharie to update a "Long Range Economic Development Strategy plan" for the county.

Sullivan County: $5.2 million

The Catskill Mountainkeeper's award for renewable energy education tops the list in Sullivan County, but town and village sewer improvements in Liberty are also big grant recipients.

  • $1.8 million for Catskill Mountainkeeper's renewable energy outreach project
  • $599,800 to the village of Liberty to improve the villages UV Disinfection System for its water supply.
  • $599,500 to the town of Liberty for improvements within the White Sulphur Springs Water District.
  • $200,000 goes to Sullivan County for a Microenterprise Assistance Program.
  • $49,500 goes to the North American Cultural Laboratory Theatre for a managing director.
  • $35,150 goes to Sullivan County for river access projects along the Delaware River in Highland, Long Eddy, Callicoon, Skinners Falls, Ten Mile River and Pond Eddy.
  • $30,000 to the town of Lumberland to evaluate the construction of a central sewer system in the Hamlet of Glen Spey and/or the Hamlet of Mohican.

Ulster County: $3.4 million

A planned resort in Rosendale tops the list of grant recipients in Ulster County. Sewer, solar and food hub projects also received large grants.

  • $750,000 goes to Hudson River Valley Resorts to redevelop a defunct resort in Rosendale into a sustainable resort, spa and residential community "focused on health and wellness and conservation of natural and historic resources."
  • $600,000 goes to the town of Ulster to extend its water district.
  • $600,000 goes to the town of Wawarsing to upgrade of the Napanoch Sewer District’s infrastructure.
  • $500,000 goes to Ceres Technologies, Inc.to form a new company to manufacture solar panels.
  • $300,000 goes to Hepworth Farms to help purchase and rehabilitation an historic fruit packing and storage facility, which will act as a food hub.
  • $250,000 goes to the Rural Ulster Preservation Company to create 55 affordable live-work lofts in the historic Lace Factory in midtown Kingston.
  • $114,500 goes to the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice to fund expansion and to hire a director of development.
  • $130,000 goes to Seton Farms to fund the expansion of a farm cidery with "innovative "green" canning equipment and construction of a food hub."
  • $68,400 goes to the Ulster Women's Studio Workshop to develop a Rosendale Art Festival in the summer of 2015. "Twenty-two regional and international visual artists will create singular public art works and performance events to be located or take place on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and in Main Street storefront spaces."
  • $30,000 goes to the Belleayre Conservatory for marketing to the New York City market via "direct mail campaign, posters for specific events in NYC locations, handbills distributed, focused social media marketing, radio and print."
  • $30,000 goes to the village of Ellenville for a sewage plan.
  • $15,600 goes to Mount Tremper Arts to hire a Development and Marketing Associate

To see all of the state organizations that received grants this year, click here.

Editor's note: Lissa Harris, the Watershed Post's publisher, is a shareholder of the family-owned Margaretville Telephone Company. Many other organizations mentioned in this story are Watershed Post advertisers.