Mohawk Valley Makes Its Case for $500M URI prize

The MV500 strategy “Sparking Transformation” – our plan for regional revitalization for the REDC Upstate Revitalization Initiative – was presented in Albany on Wednesday, October 21. The final part of the presentation was a video overview of the Mohawk Valley and its bright future. Thank you for believing in our region! Please watch and share – and stay tuned for further developments as we wait for the final announcements in the next few months.

Reflecting the voices of thousands from across Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties – and the efforts of hundreds of community leaders and volunteers – the MV500 plan describes how our region is ready for transformative change. Its strategies lay the groundwork for the Upstate Revitalization Initiative’s potential infusion of $500 million at a time when the Mohawk Valley is already seeing the beginnings of its long-awaited rebirth. As a strategy document, it describes our potential for meaningful and sustainable growth in STEM-related industries, Agribusiness, and Tourism as well as advancing investments in the Opportunity Agenda and Vibrant Downtowns.

URI has been nicknamed “Upstate New York’s Hunger Games” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan divides upstate New York into seven regions and sets those regions in competition with each other for one of three $500 million economic development prizes. The awards require a $100 million match from the winning coalitions.

Read a PDF copy of the full plan here.


Mohawk Valley Land Bank is Encouraged

Herkimer County has officially encouraged a plan to create a six-county, not-for-profit corporation that would be allowed to acquire and improve derelict properties.

The proposed land bank would have the power to acquire vacant sites, rundown and abandoned properties and tax delinquent parcels. It would also have the power to borrow money to secure the sites and find buyers interested in making the properties productive.KMVB LOGO

Under a state law enacted in 2011, any tax district with foreclosure powers is eligible to form a not-for-profit land bank with approval from the state’s urban development corporation. The idea behind a Mohawk Valley Land Bank is that a regional public authority would have more focus and greater resources to make sure the properties aren’t disposed of at far less than they are worth. The authority could also work with buyers to make sure the properties are secured and redeveloped, rather than persisting in dereliction and tax delinquency.

The Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) committee of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District has so far held three informational meetings in Johnstown, Herkimer and Oneonta exploring the creation of a land bank to include Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties.  A proposed land bank is one of four parts of KMVB’s anti-blight campaign, which also encompasses the use of the Keep America Beautiful Community Appearance Index, the Great American Cleanup and Adopt a Spot.

The Herkimer County Legislature passed a resolution Feb. 18 to encourage continued investigation of forming a regional land bank. According to the MVEDD, state legislation allows for 20 land banks in New York, and 11 land banks have already been approved. There are 120 land banks in the nation.

On Tuesday, March 3, the group will hold an informational meeting at SUNY Oneonta’s Red Dragon Theater, 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta. All meetings begin at 6:30 PM.

“Blight is a problem in communities everywhere, and Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) is doing something about it,” said Bob Albrecht, chair of the KMVB Board of Directors.

Steve Smith, executive director of MVEDD, said, “Municipalities are looking for help in dealing with blight, whether it is rubbish along the streets or abandoned houses. We think our six-county network together with KMVB volunteers can make a difference.”

 For more information

Mohawk Valley Economic Development District

Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful’s Facebook page

New York State Land Banks: Combating Blight and Vacancy in New York Communities – PDF

Vacant Properties: The True Costs to Communities – PDF

2011 New York State Land Bank Enabling Legislation – PDF

Land Bank Guidelines -PDF