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Smart Growth in the Catskill Park: Implementation Grants

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

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Grant amount: US $5,000 - US $75,000

Anticipated deadline: Oct 26, 2019 11:00am PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Elementary / Secondary School College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, Capital Project

Location of project: Counties in New York: Delaware County, Greene County, Sullivan County, Ulster County

Location of residency: New York

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Catskill Park Community Smart Growth Program

Smart growth is planned growth that balances the need for economic development with the desire to enhance our natural and built environments. Smart Growth promotes, directs, and provides incentives for growth in populated, developed areas with the infrastructure and amenities to sustain it.

The Catskill Park Community Smart Growth Program supports the implementation of capital projects that apply Smart Growth principles adapted, as appropriate, to the special conditions found in the Catskill Park. The State, through other programs such as the Department of State’s Watershed Planning and Implementation grants, Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and post-storm recovery planning has previously provided funding for comprehensive plans, strategic investment plans, revision of land use regulations, stormwater management plans, and qualified capital improvement projects.

The Catskill Park Community Smart Growth Program builds on these and other efforts by offering opportunities for eligible applicants to further enhance historic hamlets and implement community development initiatives. These hamlets, located within or approximate to the Park, complement the region’s protected natural and historic resources, and give the area its special sense of place. The Program seeks to enhance the connection of residents and visitors to the area’s exceptional natural resources.

Smart Growth Principles

Proposed eligible projects must be consistent with applicable laws, rules and regulations of the State, including the State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act, and the following general SmartGrowth Principles adapted from the Smart Growth Network as they apply within the special conditions of the Catskill Park.

  • Mix land uses – A mix of land uses can convey substantial fiscal and economic benefits by placing commercial uses in close proximity to residential areas as a critical component of achieving viable places to live.
  • Take advantage of green building design – Smart Growth involves energy conservation  measures such as improvement of efficiency within the existing built environment, proper building placement for passive solar heating and the use of locally produced building materials.
  • Create a range of housing opportunities and choices – Provide quality housing with efficient access to resources for people of all income levels.
  • Create walkable neighborhoods – Walkable communities make pedestrian activity possible by mixing land uses and building compactly, thus expanding transportation options, and creating a streetscape that better serves a range of users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and automobiles.
  • Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place – Smart Growth encourages communities to craft a vision and set standards for development and construction which respond to community values of architectural beauty and distinctiveness, as well as expanded choices in housing and transportation.
  • Preserve open space, forests, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas – Open space preservation bolsters local economies, preserves critical environmental areas, improves communities’ quality of life, and guides new growth into existing communities.
  • Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities – Smart Growth directs development towards existing communities already served by infrastructure, seeking to utilize the resources that existing neighborhoods offer, and to conserve open space and irreplaceable natural resources on the urban fringe.
  • Provide a variety of transportation choices – Providing people with efficient and alternative transportation choices reduces individual dependence on fuel and fosters greater community opportunities for housing, shopping, and jobs.
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective – It is important to create a fertile environment for innovative, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use projects, where government can provide leadership for Smart Growth.
  • Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions – Collaborative efforts among municipalities, citizens, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations can lead to creative resolutions of development issues and greater community understanding of the importance of good planning and investment which results in great places to live, work, shop and play.
  • Foster long term comprehensive planning – Smart Growth involves reconciling local and regional plans to better protect natural and cultural resources and foster more efficient development and maintenance of infrastructure. Greater comprehensive planning by municipalities will call for coordination between local, regional and state goals and should foster improved opportunities, such as having greater financial support for necessary local infrastructure and sources of renewable energy.
  • Foster strong, sustainable businesses in community centers – Smart Growth involves fostering sustainable economic developments in urbanized areas as opposed to scattered economic development. In the case of the Catskill Park, hamlets, and town and village centers, are the centers for services in a tourism economy and should have the ability to establish necessary infrastructure to support additional sustainable businesses.

Eligible Projects

This program will fund implementation of smart growth-oriented projects as well as development of a comprehensive plan and associated revision or adoption of local land use laws. Implementation funding supports advancement and/or completion of a project. The following is a list of example projects that could potentially be funded under this grant opportunity.

  • Comprehensive Plans -  Development of a comprehensive plan and development or revision of local land use laws associated with adoption of a comprehensive plan.
  • Village, Hamlet and Town Center Revitalization - Villages and Hamlets, including town centers, are the mainstay of the Catskill economy and need to be integral features of the Park. Communities need to protect existing assets to maintain their historic, economic and aesthetic value and to add value to being service centers for visitors to the Park. Main street revitalization can enhance community quality-of-life, bolster tourism, attract private sector investment, and create jobs. Particular issues include work force housing, appropriately maintaining and expanding food provision, lodging and other service businesses, appropriately-sized infrastructure maintenance and improvements, improving the ability to address the needs of older residents, and developing strategies to retain young people in the Park.
  • Capital Improvements and related Project Advancement - Capital improvements consistent with smart growth and identified through a community visioning process and described in a community plan or inter-municipal revitalization strategy are an integral part of any revitalization effort. Such projects should fit within an appropriate physical and land-use planning context and encourage economic activity at a scale appropriate to the project location. 
  • Organizational Development and related Project Advancement - Capacity-building activity is needed throughout the Park to advance key projects and priorities identified through community visioning processes and described in a community plan or inter-municipal revitalization strategy. Capacity building can provide a shared framework for economic development, strengthen and improve recipients’ governance, management administration and shared services, create alliances among governments and other organizations, and increase availability of technical assistance.
  • Cultural, Environmental and Natural Catskill Resources - Catskill local governments are on the front-line of historic, environmental, natural resource and scenic protection through implementation of local plans and programs. Locally-significant open spaces enhance community livability and support economic initiatives. Protecting and enhancing open space and environmental resources, such as removal of invasive species, remediation of contaminated sites,  and addressing climate changes and air pollution, can achieve several community objectives. Watershed programs and use of green infrastructure for stormwater management protect water quality, public health, improve recreational opportunities and support tourism with its economic benefits.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Applicant eligibility:
    • Eligible applicants include municipalities and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporations as defined below:
      • “Municipality” - is a county, town, or village. If a municipality (for example, a county) passes a governing resolution authorizing a department under its jurisdiction to apply for funding, that department can apply only if they have a FEIN and a NYS Vendor ID number in their own name, and are registered in the NYS Grants Gateway.
      • “Not-For-Profit Corporation” (NFP) - is an organization that is subject to New York State’s Not-For-Profit Corporation Law and is qualified for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code.
        • A NFP corporation must have an IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, be incorporated in New York State, and (if applicable) have a charities registration number and current in their charities reporting requirements with the Office of the Attorney General.
    • Municipal applicants and partners must be located wholly or partially within the Park.
    • Not-for-profit applicants and partners may be based outside of the Park.
    • A not-for-profit applicant must have at least one eligible municipal project partner. 
    • Partnership projects are encouraged.
  • Project Eligibility/Location:
    • Geographic Boundaries of the Catskill Park Smart Growth Grants Program:
      • The funded portion of all projects must be located wholly within the boundaries of an eligible Catskill Park Town or Village. 
      • Counties are among the eligible municipalities located wholly or partially within the Catskill Park that may apply for funding, however for the purpose of reviewing project location, the project must be located only within one or more of the listed Towns and Villages. 
  • Eligible Costs for Grant Funding:
    • Personal Service: staff salaries (force account labor) directly devoted to the project.
    • Fringe Benefits: fringe benefit costs are limited to 15% of direct staff salaries devoted to the project.
      • (Fringe benefits may include social security, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, health insurance and any other benefits.)
    • Non Personal Service: includes contractual services, travel, equipment and other costs directly associated with project implementation.
    • Travel: Directly required to implement the project. Travel costs cannot exceed federal travel rates.
    • Equipment: (purchase/rental) directly required to implement the project.
      • Equipment purchased with grant funding cannot be sold, transferred or used for purposes beyond the scope of the project, without  written approval from DEC.
      • Applications for grant funding that total $10,000 or less cannot include and will not be awarded funding for the purchase of equipment.
    • Other: includes supplies, material, advertising, printing, photocopying, etc.
    • Contractual Services: The value of services provided by responsible professional and technical personnel and consultants (i.e. engineering and architectural services, surveys, plans and specifications, research, design and development of a project, consultant and legal services directly related to a project, feasibility study for a facility, archaeological field work, report writing, curation of artifacts and interpretation, etc.)


  • A grant award may fund up to 100% of approved and eligible project costs;
    • however, higher evaluation points are available for project applications that demonstrate a commitment to provide project-related deliverables not funded from other State or Federal funding sources. 


  • Ineligible Costs For Grant Funding:
    • Costs expended outside the Geographic Boundaries of the Catskill Park Smart Growth Grants Program:
      • For projects that extend beyond the boundaries of eligible Towns and Villages, any costs expended for work outside the eligible Towns and Villages are not eligible for reimbursement.
    • Indirect or Overhead Costs: examples of indirect costs include rent, telephone service, utilities, and general administrative support.
    • Salaries and other expenses of elected officials, whether incurred for purposes of project direction, execution, or legislation, are not an eligible cost.
    • Costs of preparing the grant application.
    • Costs associated with planning activities not integral to either:
      • implementation of the project, or
      • development or revision of local land use laws.
    • Costs incurred outside of the MCG or LOA term start and end dates.
    • Costs paid from other State or Federal funding sources.
    • Applicants are not required to provide matching funds.