State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, together with local officials from the Village of Fort Plain and Montgomery County, led a group of investors, community development agencies and financial institutions on a tour of some of the businesses hit by the recent flooding.
“My goal is to bring organizations with money to invest or donate and introduce them to local officials and businesspeople that desperately need help,” Senator Tkaczyk said. “I have seen firsthand just how resilient the people of Fort Plain are. Together with these organizations, and their expertise revitalizing businesses and communities, we can rebuild Fort Plain and make it better than ever.”
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Thayer, Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton and Police Chief Robert Thomas took part in the tour and provided briefings on the latest developments on the ground.
Tkaczyk has made several trips to Fort Plain since the flooding to assist with local clean-up and recovery efforts and to meet with local officials and businesses to determine the assistance most needed.
She has also introduced legislation that would allow businesses and homeowners in Montgomery County who have been hit by the flooding to have their property taxes reassessed and lowered to reflect the flood-damaged status of their home or property.
Tkaczyk said bringing investors and developers to Fort Plain is especially important now that FEMA has denied individual assistance to homeowners and businesses. She applauded Governor Cuomo for pledging to help residents and businesses in light of the FEMA decision.
Representatives of the agencies and organizations Senator Tkaczyk brought to Fort Plain included:
Karen Bilowith; President /CEO; and Jackie Mahoney, vice-president of THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR THE GREATER CAPITAL REGION. This organization works to improve the quality of life in the region by promoting and facilitating effective philanthropy. The Foundation works to strengthen communities by attracting charitable endowments both large and small, maximizing benefits to donors, making effective grants, and providing leadership to address community needs.
Bob Radliff; executive director of THE COMMUNITY LOAN FUND OF THE CAPITAL REGION, which promotes sustainable community development efforts for economically underserved people and communities. The Fund provides access to capital by pooling investments and donations from socially concerned individuals and organizations, and re-lending it to non-profit organizations for housing and community improvement, to micro enterprises for business development, and to individuals for home ownership and repair.
Amy Clinton, director of grants and public policy for UNITED WAY OF THE GREATER CAPITAL REGION, which helps improve lives and community conditions across the Greater Capital Region by investing in programs and leading initiatives that bring partners together around issues that are best addressed collectively.
Aimee Kollar, Fort Plain Coordinator for FULMONT COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY, which has been designated as a relief agency to assist with recovery efforts in Fort Plain. It is one of 56 Community Action organizations in New York State and one of over 1,000 in the United States. The agency improves and expands human services and programs to promote self-sufficiency and improve the quality of life of the socially and economically disadvantaged.
Michael Oates, CEO of HUDSON RIVER VENTURES, a small business investment fund, working to empower entrepreneurs and build thriving businesses in Upstate New York. Hudson River Ventures is making strategic investments ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 in target industry sectors.
Colin McKnight, deputy director of THE NEW YORK STATE RURAL HOUSING COALITION, a network of rural housing professionals who work toward a common goal: to design, develop, finance, build and manage affordable housing to meet the diverse needs of rural New Yorkers Members share their knowledge and expertise to attain this goal.
Jeffrey Lazarou; executive director of the VALLEY RURAL HOUSING CORPORATION, one of New York’s Community-Based Housing Organizations, which have a direct impact on the quality of life in the inner cities, towns, villages, and remote rural communities of our state. These groups provide a wide variety or services to low- and middle-income families, the elderly, and persons with special needs.
Senator Tkaczyk has also had discussions with the COMMUNITY PRESERVATION CORPORATION, which, in addition to being a nationally recognized leader in affordable housing finance, has also helped to rebuild and revitalize many historic downtowns. CPC administered the New York Main Street Flood Relief Program in 2006, which helped property owners of mixed-use or commercial buildings located in downtown districts that were hurt by uncompensated flood damage. Although representatives from CPC were not available for this tour, the group will attend a follow-up tour with Senator Tkaczyk in the near future.