CNY coalition given $1M grant for sustainability planning

A coalition of Central New York counties, towns and organizations has received $1 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to create a comprehensive smart growth plan for regional sustainability. The plan is part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major environmental initiative announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo last year.

The coalition — comprised of Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties; the cities of Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn; the towns of Dewitt, Skaneateles, Cazenovia and Preble; and the villages of Skaneateles and Fayetteville — will develop a plan for the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council area.

The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board will lead the planning process.

“Cleaner, Greener Communities recognizes that sustainability has many interlocking facets that all are vital to economic growth,” said Nancy Cantor, chancellor and president of Syracuse University and co-chair of the CNY REDC. “Our regional strategies to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency, for example, are interwoven with sparking entrepreneurship and improving community health. It's the integration of strategies in this way — and the collaboration of partners from every sector — that actually makes development sustainable in the long term.”

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said the initiative will “enhance the county’s sustainability efforts, which include the Save the Rain Program and Sustainable Development Plan, as well as generate new ideas to reduce environmental impacts while creating jobs for our local communities.”

Once the plan is developed, additional funding will be available from the Cleaner, Greener Communities program on a competitive basis to implement projects that support the goals of the plan. Projects must create opportunities for achieving carbon reductions, energy efficiency savings and/or renewable energy deployment while enhancing job creation, economic investment and development consistent with the region’s sustainability and REDC strategic plan.

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