County Executive Michael P. Hein Announces The Recommendations Of The Ellenville Million Task Force

Posted June 30, 2015

Ellenville, NY- At the Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville last evening, County Executive Mike Hein was joined by the Ellenville Million Task Force (“Ellenville Million”), local government officials, community leaders, business owners and area residents as he announced the projects selected by the Ellenville Million to receive funding in an effort to improve the economic condition and positively impact the Ellenville and Wawarsing area.  In his 2015 State of the County address, County Executive Hein announced the formation of the Ellenville Million Task Force and his plans to help the residents of Ellenville and Wawarsing by allocating one million dollars from the County budget to projects designated by the community. County dollars are available to make this investment which will offset dollars that the State will provide to neighboring counties impacted by the siting of new casinos.  County Executive Hein decided it was critical to invest these additional County dollars in the Ellenville and Wawarsing area following the New York State Gaming Commission’s choice to not grant a gaming license to the Nevele.  The Ellenville Million funding is expected to be available after approval by the Ulster County Legislature.

“We have designed a plan for real relief and economic assistance for the Ellenville/Wawarsing area,” said County Executive Mike Hein.  “The Ellenville Million Task Force has recommended valuable projects to help in the ongoing process to revitalize the Ellenville and Wawarsing area and I want to thank all of the members of the Task Force, as well as the entire community, for their participation and recommendations in the process,” said County Executive Mike Hein.  “The people of Ellenville and Wawarsing are extraordinary and have been disproportionately disadvantaged by national economic challenges.  This plan is designed to assist in what I hope is a prosperous and bright future for the Ellenville and Wawarsing area and all their residents.”

The Ellenville Million recommends the following projects:

  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure Improvements ($150,000) – In an effort to attract large industrial businesses to the Ellenville/Wawarsing area, an upgrade of the water and sewer infrastructure will allow for additional use and will provide a long term benefit to the community by lowering overall cost of water and sewer to residents.
  • “Soft Landing” Development Fund ($175,000) – To help developers and new businesses in defraying engineering costs and other necessary costs as an enticement to attract new businesses to the area. This will ensure Ellenville and Wawarsing are able to compete and garner a competitive advantage as they look to site new business.
  •  Parks and Rail Trail Improvements ($150,000) – In order to attract more tourists, funds will be provided to upgrade rail trails, facilities, and park improvements within the Town and Village and establish an Inter-Municipal Parks Commission to oversee, improve and manage all of the parks.  Park improvements will include Berme Road Park and Lippman Park.
  • Marketing Campaign to Attract More Tourists ($100,000) – To promote tourism and market Ellenville as a year round outdoor playground for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hand-gliding, and other activities.  This funding can be used to leverage additional funding such as Consolidated Funding Applications.
  • Hunt Memorial Building ($100,000) – Restoration of the Hunt Building to benefit the community and the creation of a Tourism Center in the heart of the Village.  The building could also provide new retail space to attract new tenants and provide a civic and cultural center for the residents and visitors to Ellenville.
  • Main Street Improvements ($25,000) - Beautification projects for the downtown historic district, such as new lighting and façade improvements. The funds can be used to leverage other sources of funding.
  • High Speed Internet Access ($150,000) – Access to high speed internet willhelp kick start growth and expansion in the area with the possibility of attracting a new demographic of residents.  Upgrading internet speed will benefit the community and be available to new and existing business locations.
  • Project management, oversight and grant writing to leverage additional funds ($75,000) - To help assist grant writing, administration and leveraging of existing funds.
  • Shadowland Theatre ($75,000) - Shadowland Theatre is a valuable asset to Ellenville and has 31 years of excellence and longevity to its credit.  Funding will greatly assist planned renovations which can be leveraged for additional funding to complete the project.

Julie Cohen Lonstein, Chair of the Ellenville Million Committee

“It has been a privilege to work on the Ellenville Million Committee with such dedicated people and focus all our collective energy and ideas into recommendations to and promote and stimulate growth in Ellenville and the Town of Wawarsing,” said Julie Cohen Lonstein, Chair of the Ellenville Million Committee. “I thank County Executive Hein for his vision and support of our community.  I am proud to live here, raise my family and operate my business in  Ellenville,  which I believe will be revitalized by the County’s infusion of the million dollars to kick start our area into realizing its full potential as a place for people to live, work and play.”

Mayor Jeff Kaplan, Village of Ellenville

“The Village of Ellenville appreciates the efforts of County Executive Mike Hein in recognizing the needs of the Ellenville area and assisting us in the necessary funding to start a plan for future progress,” said Village of Ellenville Mayor Jeff Kaplan.

Thomas J. Briggs, Ulster County Legislator and Chair of the Economic Development Committee

"I commend County Executive Hein for recognizing Ellenville and Wawarsing's needs and dedicating the resources to address them. He has a huge heart and a great love of our area,” said Ulster County Legislator and Chair of the Economic Development Committee Thomas J. Briggs. "I am also grateful to the Ellenville Million Committee for dedicating their time to bettering our community."

Leonard Distel, Wawarsing Town Supervisor

"We are so thrilled that County Executive Mike Hein has allocated $1 million to improve the economic conditions in the Town of Wawarsing and we look forward to implementing the Committee's recommendations," said Wawarsing Town Supervisor Leonard Distel.  "I thank the individuals of this area who served on the County Executive's Ellenville Million Committee and the residents who submitted thoughtful proposals."

Steven Kelley, CEO of Ellenville Hospital and Member of the Ellenville Million Task Force

“County Executive Mike Hein should be commended for his leadership and commitment to the Ellenville/Wawarsing community,” said Steven Kelley, CEO of Ellenville Hospital and Member of the Ellenville Million Task Force.  “Executive Hein’s vision to provide economic stimulus through the E$M will provide an enormous boost to the region.  We should also thank the many members of the community and elected officials who came forward with awesome recommendations. I salute my fellow Ellenville Million Committee members for their thoughtful consideration formulating sound proposals to the Executive.”

Richard Travers, President of RondoutValley Business Association and Member of the Ellenville Million Task Force

“I want to thank County Executive Mike Hein for asking me to participate in the Ellenville Million Committee,” said Richard Travers, President of the Rondout Valley Business Association and Member of the Ellenville Million Task Force.  “I believe the committee’s recommendations for the disbursement of the E$M funds will provide the stimulus needed to reboot the economy of the Village of Ellenville and the Town of Wawarsing.”

Mary Sheeley, Former Ellenville Village Manager and Former Ulster County Legislator

“County Executive Mike Hein has always possessed a unique understanding of the problems and issues that face the Ellenville/Wawarsing community,” said Mary Sheeley, Former Ellenville Village Manager and Former Ulster County Legislator.  “His appointment of the Ellenville Million Task Force further exhibits his care and concern for the embattled community and its’ residents.  The million dollars represents an economic shot in the arm to an area that has suffered major setbacks yet still manages to rise to the top. It was my privilege to serve on the Committee and I thank the County Executive for his leadership.”

Ward Todd, Ulster County Chamber President

"I congratulate County Executive Hein on creating this important initiative, which will go far toward improving the economy of this region.  Many of Ellenville's needs will be addressed with this funding,” said Ulster County Chamber President Ward Todd stated.

The following are Members of the Ellenville Million Task Force: Attorney Julie Lonstein, Chair; President of the Rondout Valley Business Association Richard Travers; business person, former Ellenville Village Manager and former County Legislator Mary Sheeley; community leader Reverend Julius Collins from the Shiloh Baptist Church;  Ellenville Hospital CEO Steven Kelly; business owner Philip Coombs; and business owner Candido Perez.