Placemaking is place-based policy

Placemaking isn’t a phrase heard in the halls of local governments. But the concept is at the heart of much of the progress we have made over the past several years.

Placemaking is about making our wonderful communities even more vibrant, attractive, fun and livable.

It’s place-based policy, a key economic development strategy that in New York state has included state programs such as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Empire Zones and Opportunity Zones, among others. Communities are eligible for state funding to pursue improvements that will, over the long term, increase homeownership, raise property values, attract investment, new businesses and workers, and improve the lives of residents.

Municipalities throughout Warren County are grateful recipients of some of these funding opportunities — and, through careful and strategic planning, our communities have made the most of the programs.

This type of economic investment is critical to revitalization of regions like ours. A 2019 Brookings report stated, “Large, coastal metro areas such as Seattle, San Francisco and New York City are capturing a disproportionate share of today’s digital-economy growth, while small and mid-sized cities and rural areas fall behind.”

Since then, the pandemic has shifted the balance. Smaller, rural communities in Warren County and throughout the Hudson Valley are seeing renewed interest among people considering relocating. Real estate activity is at a record pace in many communities. Our small and mid-sized communities, charming, safe and affordable, are suddenly getting a very welcome second look.

EDC is helping Warren County communities prepare by encouraging necessary investments in infrastructure such as updated sewer systems, increased access to reliable broadband, and community revitalization. We see this as a historic opportunity to strengthen our local communities, and make them more resilient, prosperous, energetic and attractive.

We’re not alone. A 2021 Brookings report says that in 2020 states spent 30 percent of their budgets on programs critical to places, such as economic development, environmental protection, parks and recreation, natural resources programs, housing and public health programs.

EDC is all about creating opportunity for everyone. We will continue to invest in our beautiful region and to encourage others to invest so that we attract new business and talent and keep our most valuable asset, our youth, here by offering all the nostalgia of their small-town upbringing with the innovation and opportunity of larger cities. We will continue to advocate for the development of expanded child care services to meet the needs of young working families and new housing opportunities to meet the needs of working people and families, seniors interested in downsizing,  and professionals interested in working from the resort home of their dreams.

EDC is helping communities prepare to make the most of what we believe is a very bright future.