New York’s Department of State announced on November 17th a new Brownfields Smart Growth Spotlight Communities initiative, designed to link communities currently enrolled in the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas program with the Governor’s Smart Growth cabinet resources in order to promote economic revitalization as well as environmental protection of troubled areas. By integrating the Smart Growth cabinet with these existing programs, the state hopes to reinforce its existing commitment to sustainable smart growth and redevelopment. For more information, see the New York Department of State’s website.
Congressman Brian Higgins, who represents the 27th district of New York, including Buffalo, recently helped to start the ‘Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force,’ serving as its co-chair with Congressman Mike Turner (OH). This Fall he also introduced the Neighborhood Reclamation and Revitalization Act, which targets funds to communities for the demolition and reclamation of vacant properties. We asked him about the bill, and about the problems vacant housing has created for older industrial cities.
Q: Can you talk about the Neighborhood Reclamation and Revitalization Act of 2007 and why you decided to introduce this bill?
Vacant housing in Buffalo is a huge problem. All it takes is a quick tour of the city to see how immense the problem is. Community re-engagement is difficult (more…)
New York — Background
|Buffalo photo courtesy of Exposure:Buffalo Photography|
New York's older industrial cities — Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, and Utica — represent important nodes of connectivity between New England and the Midwest, Canada and the United States. Yet for decades, state policies disadvantaged downtown business and growth in these areas. For example, cumbersome state tax foreclosure laws discourage urban redevelopment, and current state allocation of low-income tax credits perpetuate concentrated poverty. By starting to reform these outdated, destructive polices, New York can 'fix the basics' in its struggling upstate cities and set the state on course for prolonged economic growth.
In partnership with regional, state, and even neighboring state and Canadian businesses and organizations, New York's upstate cities are already working to restore their prosperity. In one successful state-local program, the State of New York in 2005 designated neighborhoods in New York City that lacked basic financial services as ‘New York Banking Development Districts.' The state partnered with the local government and private banks to provide below-market rate deposits and other incentives to ensure that community members had the financial services necessary for the economic area to growth responsibly. The Banking Development Districts project is an example of a state framework tested in one city that could be a tool for other cities with similar needs.
More recently, in December of 2007, Governor Eliot Spitzer announced an executive order establishing a Smart Growth Cabinet. Created to review state agency spending and policies and determine how best to discourage sprawl and promote smart land use practices, the Cabinet will coordinate cross-agency activities and develop smart growth policies that cater to the needs of New York's state regions.
For more details on these and other exciting developments in New York, visit our Resources, News Center, and Events Calendar pages.
State Partners: Regional Plan Association
Contact: Bob Yaro or Chris Jones at 212.253.2727