News Release

 

For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000
countyexec@co.dutchess.ny.us

For Immediate Release

October 15, 1999

 

Steinhaus Unveils Major Initiative: Greenway Compact Program

Poughkeepsie, NY - County Executive William R. Steinhaus today unveiled details to the Greenway Compact Plan which he first introduced in his 1997 State of the County address. Dutchess County was selected by the Greenway Council, which is part of Governor Pataki's Executive branch, to develop this Greenway Compact Plan as a model for others in the 13 county region. The Compact is a voluntary agreement between the Greenway Council and local communities to work toward Greenway goals.

"A basic premise of the Greenway Compact is that environmental values and economic issues can  coexist and even improve economic development opportunities," Steinhaus said. "This is important because in every community which I visit I'm told that they want economic development without changes to the character of the area."

Participation by local communities and the citizens at large have since helped consolidate the policies of the state, regional, county and local levels into concise and clear language. This was an essential element of the process in developing this Greenway Compact.

"My goal is to provide such an attractive program of economic development initiatives, open space connections, trail networks, protection measures for important farm lands, scenic road recommendations and design guidelines for future development that every community in Dutchess County will choose to endorse the Hudson River Valley Greenway Compact," Steinhaus stated. "This concept is aimed at creating a system of community planning that increases our quality of life as we enjoy economic growth. Growth alone is not acceptable without an enjoyable quality of life that can be ensured by protecting and nurturing our natural beauty."

"Too often our methods of decision making rely on segmentation," noted the County Executive. "Zoning districts separate housing from stores and job sites, the environment is segmented into various natural constraints with different rules and regulating agencies, while layers of government create additional fragmented jurisdiction. Our economic development efforts have been successful thanks to our interrelated approach, which is exactly the approach we intend to use to create an environmentally sound county."

Currently, 28 out of the 30 Dutchess County municipalities are participating Greenway communities, the largest number of any county in the Hudson Valley. The Compact developed an easy to use source book titled "Greenway Connections" which reveals inspiring ideas, practical solutions and colorful illustrations that highlight the substantial economic benefits of becoming a Greenway community. It presents exciting projects for community redevelopment, open space protection, trails, scenic roadways and a how-to guide that helps with everyday decisions.

"One aspect I think is very important is that communities taking part in our compact receive incredible benefits without sacrificing local decision making powers," stressed Steinhaus. "If you want to protect farmland, promote trails, scenic roads, waterfront development or any other Greenway goal, matching Greenway grant money will be available to help. Also, Greenway Compact community projects get higher priority ratings when applying for large competitive state grants." The County Executive also pointed out that the Greenway can help communities connect with additional federal money, streamline environmental reviews and, for those communities who update local regulations to complement Compact policies, Greenway can offer 100 percent funding and protection from law suits.

Said Dave Sampson, Executive Director of the Hudson River valley Greenway Communities Council, "The Dutchess County plan marks a turning point for the Hudson River Valley Greenway program. Under the leadership of Bill Steinhaus, Dutchess is poised to become the first county in New York State to adopt a voluntary, participatory strategy for growth in the 21' Century based upon its unique history, character and geography. This is a model for the rest of the valley and for New York State."

"I encourage residents to look at the plans we have drawn up because I am so confident that everyone will see the direct benefits this program has on their everyday lives," Steinhaus said. "We even have plans to make parking lots more like parks."

The County Executive and his team are taking their plans to the residents starting Monday, October 18, at 7:30 PM at the Rhinebeck Town Hall. It will be the first of a series of Public Presentations on Greenway Connections. Additional presentations will be held at the Dover Town Hall on Wednesday, October 27 and at the Wappinger Town Hall on Thursday, October 28, both at 7:30 PM.

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