Several top state and local leaders sailed aboard the Rip Van Winkle tour boat Thursday morning, as Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off his economic development tour of the Hudson Valley with a visit to Kingston's downtown historic district.
Cuomo was joined on his Hudson River voyage by Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, and a host of other officials from various organizations.
The entourage sailed to Poughkeepsie, where Mayor John Tkazyik escorted them around the waterfront, the Walkway Over the Hudson, and Marist College.
“You have every asset imaginable in the Hudson Valley,” Cuomo said during remarks inside the new Kingston Home Port and Education Center, funded with state economic development grants. “Literally it is a region that inspired schools of landscape artists and painters for years. You have every economic activity, from agriculture to biotech to high tech; you have it all,” he observed.
“There are no county lines when it comes to an economy; it's one region,” Cuomo said. “You have to get past those boundaries. This belief in a town line or a city line, it's gone. They were arbitrary lines on a map. Figure out that you have to come together, you're all going to rise, or you're all going to fall.”
The governor added that “There is no New York economy, except to the extent there's an aggregation of regional economies. We are not a vanilla state, we are not homogenous, the same all across. Hence, the regional economic development councils.”
The governor's trip went beyond mere sightseeing and publicity – Cuomo brought along his entire cabinet to evaluate regional development efforts.
Many Hudson Valley projects are adjacent to the Hudson River. “Be nice to the Strategic Assessment Team,” Cuomo said, “because they're going to be making the decision going forward on funding.”
Mayor Gallo said he was pleased to have Cuomo come to Kingston.
“It was very fitting to have the governor discuss these issues and make these announcements at the new home of the Clearwater, which will continue the revitalization of the waterfront, and afford access to the river for the next generation”, Gallo said.
Kingston has a pending Consolidated Funding Application for the proposed mile-long promenade between Rondout Landing and Ulster Landing.
Poughkeepsie has a similar project across the river. Both come bundled with new residential housing complexes.