The Next Silicon Valley

How does a small, historic city craft an economic development proposal with the right stuff needed to win a $10 million revitalization grant?

How does a small, historic city craft an economic development proposal with the right stuff needed to win a $10 million revitalization grant?

To find out, click the following link and download a copy of: The BRIDGE District – Build, Renew, Invent, Develop, Grow, Empower” Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant Application Submitted June 14, 2017.

There you will find the 57-page award winning entry from Hudson, New York that lays out a compelling case to attract and the support public and private investment needed to revitalize the aging industrial zone adjacent to the riverfront.

State and regional officials are promoting the revitalization plan and its potential for “next-tech” growth and development opportunities in Hudson. The $10 million plan includes infrastructure and development spending to create purpose-built spaces that will foster trade, vocational and apprenticeship hubs; and an innovation zone focused on developing a cluster of clean-tech, renewable energy, semiconductor, light manufacturing and creative industry companies.

The plan also promotes workforce development, educational, entrepreneurial, and business development opportunities, specifically in the art, film and media industries.

The state-wide, winner-take-all grant competition was created by Governor Andrew Cuomo to incentivize new investment and economic development in some of New York’s oldest and neediest downtowns.

How did Hudson’s proposal beat out more than 100 other plans from competing cities, town, and villages across the state? It did so by creating a detailed, comprehensive grant application that addressed the spirit and letter of the Governor’s development criteria: build on existing assets, and showcase what is unique about your city, town or village.

For Hudson, this meant crafting a comprehensive proposal that was sensitive to the preservation and historical values one of the oldest, best preserved 19th-century cities in the Hudson River Valley. But also, a plan with a vision that is consistent with the city, and the region’s, ongoing demographic; economic; workforce; community; and cultural realities.

Hudson, with a population just over 6,400, is a former whaling port founded in 1785 by Nantucket and New Bedford, Mass. entrepreneurs. It takes its name from the English explorer Henry Hudson who sailed up the river in 1609. But until about 30 years ago, Hudson was in the throes of an economic death spiral. Today, its fortunes have been reversed, thanks to a series of fortuitous development circumstances which led the New York Times recently to publish a gushing feature article and dub Hudson’s turnaround: “a remarkable and elegant transformation.”

But the transformation is not incomplete.

Hudson’s uptown commercial district is home to scores of historical, architecturally significant buildings that now house antique shops, art galleries, cozy bars, restaurants, boutique shops that draw throngs of weekend visitors from across the region. But its old industrial district at the other end of town –close to the Amtrak station, has cried out for revitalization and a forward looking new investment plan to usher it into the 21st century.

So a year ago, city, county, and state government officials, economic developers, and a network of city boosters worked tirelessly to put together a riverfront revitalization proposal in a bid for that year’s $10 government grant. They submitted their proposal and crossed their collective fingers. But in the final run up, the city of Glens Falls, a rival river town a bit further up the Hudson, walked away with the top prize.

When the competition rolled around again this year, Hudson’ diverse public and private stakeholders doubled down. They upped their investment in economic research, in municipal planning – and consultant fees – and put together a better plan, and on Tuesday, August 1st, Governor Cuomo named Hudson, the grand prize winner at an event packed with local boosters and media. It took place in Hudson’s recently preserved and restored Opera House, once the City Hall, and the oldest surviving theatre in New York State.

Download a copy of the revitalization plan here, and read more about the City of Hudson and Columbia County’s ongoing economic revival, including its aspirations to become one of the Hudson River Valley’s newest leading “tech hubs” 

Keep up with Hudson, other mega-million development proposals in the U.S. and around the world, and the latest in tech-based economic development by subscribing to The Next Silicon Valley newsletter.

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