New Funding For Open Space Preservation

Originally published in Hudson Valley Press on .

Senator James Skoufis (D-Orange County) announced that his bill (S.4544) which allows industrial development agencies—IDAs—to make grants to municipalities for open space preservation, has passed the Senate.

While “industrial development” does not generally conjure up images of wide open spaces and expansive vistas, the passage of Senate Bill 4544 bill would allow towns and villages to seek funding opportunities for open spaces, parkland preservation, and land conservation. The permission of such grants will allow for growth opportunities within tourism, while providing protection for New York State’s important agricultural resources. Agrotourism—the intersection of agriculture and tourism—has proven to be an important economic development driver throughout New York State in terms of both jobs and revenue.

“As growth within the Hudson Valley continues,” said Skoufis, “we have to be mindful of the impact of that development on the character of our towns and villages, as well as the environment. This bill gives municipalities economic alternatives to industrial developments, encourages tourism, and improves quality of life by maintaining open spaces for residents and wildlife. I am encouraged by this progress and hope to see this bill pass the Assembly and signed into law.”

Typically, large-scale commercial development occurs on farmland because of its clear and flat topography, making it an ideal locale for new projects. This legislation would establish a funding mechanism to prevent future loss of this irreplaceable resource.