Economic Development Program
The CWC’s Economic Development Programs are intended to support environmentally responsible businesses and to create and retain jobs in the Catskills. They are intended to help offset impacts of New York City Watershed regulations and the city’s acquisition of thousands of acres of land which will remain permanently off limits to development.
The cornerstone of the CWC’s efforts in the West of Hudson Watershed is the Catskill Fund for the Future (CFF), a revolving fund initially capitalized by a $59.7 million appropriation by New York City, and today invested and wholly managed by the CWC. An economic development study, prepared in 1998 for the CWC by consultants Hamilton, Rabinovitz and Alschuler (HR&A), served as a guidance document for establishment of loan, grant and tourism promotion programs funded through the CFF.
REDI (Regional Economic Development Initiative) LOANS
MICRO-LOANS are available for those seeking up to $50,000. An equity contribution of at least 25 percent of the project cost is required, but funding from other sources is not necessary; applicants may seek 75 percent of the needed funds from the CWC.
Since its inception in 1997, the CWC has supported several tourism promotion initiatives, culminating in a Catskill Region website, "Best of Both Worlds," featuring an interactive map showing attractions, recreational opportunities and historic and cultural sites. The website links to County Tourism Promotion Agencies and business promotion groups.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OUTREACH CENTER
The CWC, in cooperation with the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center, provides one-on-one business counseling to Watershed residents, or those considering locating or moving a business to the Watershed region. To receive help preparing business plans, or to get answers to questions about marketing, production issues, finance and other topics or for guidance in applicable regulations, licensing or tax requirements contact Business Advisor Sam Kandel, 845-339-0025. For information of SBDC services, visit http://www.nyssbdc.org/centers/centers.aspx?centid=94
WATERSHED EDUCATION, JOB CREATION AND ENERGY CONSERVATION
CWC has supported five community development projects - one in each of the five counties in the WOH Watershed, that combine educational services, induce job growth and promote renewable energy initiatives.
· The Daniel Pierce Library in Grahamsville, Town of Neversink, Sullivan County: CWC helped fund an energy-saving geo-thermal heating and cooling system as part of a $4 million expansion project, completed in 2011
· The Margaretville eCenter, Town of Middletown, Delaware County: CWC helped fund energy conservation measures installed during renovation of a 1908 building to house a small business incubator focused on high tech and technology dependent businesses.
· The Ashokan Center, Town of Olive, Ulster County: CWC funds were provided for the relocation and re-construction of buildings as the center constructs a new “green” campus above the Esopus Creek floodway to create an energy efficient environmental and cultural facility.
· The Mountain Top Library and Learning Center, Village of Tannersville, Greene County: CWC funds helped install new windows and other energy saving measures in a renovated 8,000-square-foot building.
· Margaretville Telephone Company (MTC) was awarded funds to extend high speed Broadband and Wi-Fi internet access to underserved parts of Schoharie County
Green Concierge Project
CWC funds helped retain Hospitality Green, an environmental consulting firm, to train 150 tourism and lodging facilities in the Catskill Watershed Region in a three-year (2009-12) "Green Concierge" initiative. Participating business people received free one-on-one technical assistance to improve their economic and environmental sustainability practices. A map of the Catskills and participating lodging establishments can be found here. Click on the lodging sites for contact information.
Catskills Grass Bio-Energy Project
CWC funds support this project to test grass pellet-burning stoves and furnaces at several sites in the Watershed. The project, coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, is also examining whether growing and processing grass for bio-energy can be a source of significant revenue for landowners and entrepreneurs.
Delaware Inn Rehabilitation
The landmark Delaware Inn in the Village of Stamford, Delaware County was partially rebuilt and completely renovated in a project to determine the feasibility of restoring deteriorated commercial structures and returning them to active use. The project included installation of geothermal climate controls, solar electric panels and other energy saving features. The building was completed in 2011 and has recovered its historic place as a Main Street showplace. The Inn is available for purchase. Click here to view video.
Reservoir Boating Program
The CWC partnered with the NYC DEP, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations to help initiate and promote non-motorized recreational boating on four New York City reservoirs – Cannonsville, Pepacton, Schoharie and Neversink. The program began with a three-year pilot project on the Cannonsville, and in 2012 was expanded to include three other non-terminal reservoirs. Funding from the CFF paid for equipping vendors to steam clean canoes, kayaks, sailboats and rowboats; renting portable toilets for boat launch sites, and brochure printing. Details on the program, and links to vendors, outfitters and hospitality businesses are posted on the "Best of Both Worlds" a CWC-initiated regional tourism and promotion website.
2011 Flood Recovery Program
The CWC Board of Directors responded to flood emergencies of August and September, 2011, spawned by Hurricanes Irene and lee, by establishing a special $5 million recovery fund to help small businesses repair structural damage and get back on their feet. Money for the grant program was allocated from the Catskill Fund for the Future. Supervisors in affected Watershed Towns, in concert with CWC staff, worked with businesses to prepare and process their applications. The program helped shops, offices, mills, restaurants, hotels and other establishments. More than $3 million has been disbursed directly to business owners for costs incurred to repair walls, floors, foundations, windows and fixed assets.
A grant program to assist flood damaged non-profit organizations was approved by the CWC Board in February 2013. The NYC DEP provided $1 million towards CWC’s flood recovery efforts.
Municipal Sewer Flood Business Retention Program This program, approved by the CWC Board in April 2013, names the Village Fleischmanns as a pilot project for an initiative to provide funding to municipalities, to be repaid with annual sewer charges, for the construction of sewer mains to serve existing or relocated businesses within the West of Hudson Watershed.