In areas of Greene County that are part of the New York City watershed, special low-interest business loan assistance is available to retain or create jobs.
The programs are intended to support environmentally responsible businesses and to create and retain jobs in the Catskills. They are intended to help offset impacts of New York City Watershed regulations and the city’s acquisition of thousands of acres of land which will remain permanently off limits to development.
The cornerstone of the CWC’s efforts in the West of Hudson Watershed is the Catskill Fund for the Future (CFF), a revolving fund initially capitalized by a $59.7 million appropriation by New York City, and today invested and wholly managed by the CWC. An economic development study, prepared in 1998 for the CWC by consultants Hamilton, Rabinovitz and Alschuler (HR&A), served as a guidance document for establishment of loan, grant and tourism promotion programs funded through the CFF.
Business loans are available to help existing or proposed businesses start, relocate, expand, consolidate or improve operations within the Watershed region in an environmentally sound manner. Any for-profit business or non-profit organization planning a project which is deemed a Qualified Economic Development Project (one which encourages the twin goals of Watershed protection and job creation/retention), is eligible to apply for a low-interest loan. Eligible expenses include land or building purchase, land improvements, facility renovation, purchase and installation of equipment or furnishings, lease hold improvements, pollution prevention or energy conservation projects or inventory enhancement.
In most cases, applicants must show a minimum equity investment of 10 percent of the total project cost, and must also secure a significant portion of the cost from non-CWC funding sources. Prospective borrowers are encouraged to discuss their project with CWC staff and to obtain an application packet.
Micro-loans are available for those seeking up to $50,000. An equity contribution of at least 25 percent of the project cost is required, but funding from other sources is not necessary; applicants may seek 75 percent of the needed funds from the CWC.
Since its inception in 1997, the CWC has supported several tourism promotion initiatives, culminating in a Catskill Region website, “Best of Both Worlds,” featuring an interactive map showing attractions, recreational opportunities and historic and cultural sites. The website links to County Tourism Promotion Agencies and business promotion groups.
The CWC, in cooperation with the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center, provides one-on-one business counseling to Watershed residents, or those considering locating or moving a business to the Watershed region. To receive help preparing business plans, or to get answers to questions about marketing, production issues, finance and other topics or for guidance in applicable regulations, licensing or tax requirements contact Business Advisor Sam Kandel, 845-339-0025. For information on SBDC services, visit the Mid Hudson Main Office Small Business Development Center.
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