The Legislature this week passed legislation (A.11338/S.7013) allowing the Towns of Denning, Shandaken, Olive, Woodstock, and Hardenburgh to join the Hudson River Valley Greenway. The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Bonacic and in the Assembly by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.
Senator Bonacic said, "The Greenway has proven itself to be a valuable resource for communities. Good planning, with a regional approach, is no longer optional."
Assemblyman Cahill said, "The Greeway was organized as an educational region-building initiative designed to foster a civic culture conducive to collaboration and integrated decision making. The Catskill Park towns will now be afforded the same opportunity as other Greenway communities to create a new framework for how development measures can be taken and to allow for economic progress and success without sacrificing the historic and natural treasures of the region."
Acting Director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway, Mary Mangione, stated, "Senator Bonacic has been a strong partner of the Greenway and continues to show his commitment to Greenway principles. I commend the Senator's initiative to make sure more communities within his district can benefit from the Hudson River Valley Greenway program. We are pleased these Ulster County communities will now become eligible to participate.
"To date, 90% of the 258 communities in the current boundaries have become Greenway communities. It is clear that the Greenway principles are being embraced in the Hudson River Valley and many communities have come to realize that they can receive financial and technical planning support without compromising local Home Rule. We look forward to the opportunity to work with these localities to support the regional vision of the Greenway that balances environmental values and economic development," said Ms. Mangione.
The Hudson River Valley Greenway currently counts 232 members of 258 eligible municipalities in 13 counties along the Hudson River. The towns in Ulster and Greene County which are in the Catskill Park, were expressly prohibited from joining the Greenway under the 1991 law which created the Greenway. According to the Greenway’s website (www.hudsongreenway.state.ny.us), 18 of 19 eligible municipalities in Ulster County have already joined.
Two years ago, the Legislature authorized the creation of the Niagara River Greenway and the State Senate has twice passed legislation sponsored by Senator Bonacic authorizing the creation of an Upper Delaware River Greenway in Orange, Sullivan, and Delaware Counties.
The Hudson River Greenway is designed to encourage Hudson River Valley Communities to develop projects and initiatives related to the criteria of natural and cultural resource protection, regional and local planning, economic development, public access to the River, and heritage and environmental education. It offers planning and grant assistance to communities for capital projects, water-based and land-based trail initiatives. To date, it has provided over $2 million in direct assistance to Hudson Valley communities.
Senator Bonacic concluded, "The Greenway has been a model program worth participating in -- enhancing both the economy and the environment."