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Contact: Evan Menist, Assistant Deputy County Executive
(845) 340-3800 x8958 / emen[at]co.ulster.ny[dot]us
Ulster County Executive Unveils Initiatives in Housing, Workforce, Community & Small Businesses
at 2023 State of the County Address
ELLENVILLE, NY - Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger delivered her 2023 State of the County address on Wednesday night at Ellenville High School to an audience that included local elected and County government officials, business, nonprofit and labor leaders, and members of the public. During the address, County Executive Metzger announced plans for a significant County investment in a new Housing Trust as well as plans to create a Workforce Innovation Center for the Green Economy, among other initiatives intended to address immediate needs and expand economic opportunities for residents and businesses.
“I’m very pleased to report that the County is in a very strong fiscal position, which allows us to put funds away for a rainy day and still have significant resources to invest in what our County needs now,” said Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger. “That’s why I’m proud to announce new initiatives tonight that lead with fairness and reach underserved areas of our County – initiatives that will create housing that people can afford, leverage new opportunities for the green economy, tackle mental health and addiction challenges, and support our local businesses. Together, we can create a sustainable, resilient, thriving Ulster County that leaves no one behind.”
The County Executive's address was offered in real-time Spanish language translation and American Sign Language interpretation–a first for a State of the County address in Ulster County.
The evening's program also included performances by youth from the Center for Creative Education's Energy Dance Company and the Ellenville High School Chamber Singers, along with a ceremonial Posting of the Colors by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. Recordings of the event can be found on the Ulster County Executive’s Facebook page and will be posted on the Ulster County Government website and youtube channel.
Some of the many initiatives announced in the address include:
A renovation and reimagining of the Trudy Resnick Farber building in Ellenville, with the goal of transforming it into a central hub of community resources. This project will leverage significant community input into the plan and offerings of the site, and a community survey for public input is available at https://tinyurl.com/UlsterTFRsurvey
A Centralized Grants Office, which will position Ulster to pursue state and federal resources for County programs while reducing reliance on taxes.
An Ulster County Housing Trust and Land Bank, with a dedicated housing reserve of $15 Million to catalyze the development of housing options that residents can afford now and in the future.
A plan to create a Workforce Innovation Center for the Green Economy at iPark87, the site of the former IBM complex in the Town of Ulster, to equip local workers with the skills for the well-paying, family-sustaining jobs coming to Ulster County in clean energy and other industries–and to attract further investment by companies looking for the trained workforce they need.
A new Corrections to Careers program in partnership with the Carpenters Union Local 279 to provide a pathway for criminal justice-involved individuals in the County Jail and on probation to jobs and future success, which in turn reduces recidivism rates.
Implementation of new mental health and substance use programs, including a street outreach program in partnership with Hudson Valley Community Services to reach people in the community where they are. The outreach team will provide harm reduction education, naloxone, transportation to appointments, and connections to medication and treatment.
A second round of small grants to local small businesses as well as a new "Boost for Main Streets" program that will make nearly $2 million in grant funding available for capital improvements to commercial and mixed-use buildings and business districts, especially in economically disadvantaged areas. Both programs are funded with resources the County received through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Metzger is the first woman elected to the Office of County Executive in Ulster County. The State of the County was her first major address since taking office in January of this year, after having been elected in a special election to complete the remainder of the term left by Pat Ryan, the former County Executive and now Congressman. Metzger plans to run for a full four-year term this November.