Dutchess transfers COVID relief funds from stadium to housing – Daily Freeman
KINGSTON, NY – A controversial proposal to spend more than $11 million in federal stimulus funds on the expansion of a minor league ballpark in southern Dutchess County has been shelved due to higher costs than planned associated with the project, according to the county executive.
Instead, County Executive Marc Molinaro said, the county will transfer about $9.5 million of those funds to projects that will meet the county’s homeless and affordable housing needs.
In an interview on Monday, Molinaro said the county would use funds originally earmarked for the stadium expansion to augment the $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds it had set aside by $1 million. to fight homelessness and provide $7 million in funding to support affordable housing projects.
“We’re reallocating him to another critical need,” Molinaro said.
Dutchess County received $57 million under the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act. Molinaro outlined a plan to invest the money in projects in four broad categories: youth, nonprofit, economy, community and parks.
The largest single project was the proposed $11.6 million expansion of Dutchess Stadium, a Fishkill County-owned park that is home to the Hudson Valley Renegades, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees. According to the executive’s plan, the funds would have been used to build an addition to Dutchess Stadium, which the plan called “an economic engine for our county, employing neighbors, attracting thousands of visitors from across the region, which helps local businesses, restaurants, and hotels.
“This investment will ensure the operation of minor league baseball in Dutchess County by creating jobs and stimulating the region’s economy,” the plan states.
Democratic lawmakers denounced the proposal, saying the funding would be better spent on projects that would address opioid use and other social issues, but Molinaro and Republican lawmakers pushed ahead, spending about $2 million on the preliminary design and other costs before launching the project. .
When the first bids submitted exceeded county officials’ expectations, Molinaro said the project was reworked to remove some components from the original project and auctioned a second time.
Still, the bids received were significantly higher than expected, forcing the county to abandon the project, at least for the time being.
Molinaro, a Republican running for the 19th congressional district seat against incumbent Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, said rampant inflation caused the county to scuttle its plans for the stadium.
“That’s the reality, and frankly, I hope Washington and Albany take inflation seriously because they don’t seem to,” he said Monday. “No one is immune to the impact of massive inflationary costs.
“All of this is getting worse and creating a real crisis for ordinary families and governments,” he said.
Molinaro said that over the next 12 months, the county will invest $20 million — including county funds — to address homelessness and affordable housing needs.
He said the county is also “committed to making the investments (at the Dutchess Stadium)” and will work with the Hudson Valley Renegades to rework the project and renegotiate its contracts with the team owners.