The picturesque Village of Haverstraw is set to undergo a vibrant transformation, thanks to a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently unveiled an ambitious initiative that will inject over $11 million in federal funds into several Hudson Valley communities, including Mount Vernon, White Plains, Yonkers, Hastings-on-Hudson, and Kingston.
In a move aimed at combating the challenges posed by urban heat islands and promoting environmental awareness among youth, the Village of Haverstraw has secured a substantial $1 million grant for tree planting and community development. Urban heat islands, characterized by elevated temperatures in densely built urban areas, will be addressed through strategic tree planting, which can significantly reduce the heat build-up caused by impervious surfaces and high-density construction.
A major beneficiary of this funding windfall is Groundwork Hudson Valley, which will receive a substantial allocation of $5,526,563 to support its environmental and community initiatives. Other communities sharing in this green initiative include Mount Vernon, White Plains, Yonkers, Port Jervis, Kingston, and Hastings-on-Hudson, each receiving grants ranging from $433,275 to $1 million.
The $11.5 million grant allocation was secured as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, a comprehensive legislative package that earmarked more than $1 billion for nationwide investment in the USDA’s greener community program.
In a statement, Senator Schumer emphasized the profound impact of investing in green spaces, stating, “Investing in helping green spaces grow not only improves quality of life, it helps tackle systemic inequalities like urban heat islands, creates cleaner air and so much more. Growing our green spaces is how you plant the seeds for a brighter future for communities that need it most in the Hudson Valley. Now a greener, healthier, and more equitable Hudson Valley can finally take root and blossom.”
As part of this transformative endeavor, the Groundwork Hudson Valley project will establish a dedicated program for high school students in Southwest Yonkers, situated at the Barack Obama School for Social Justice. These students will gain access to paid training opportunities and invaluable forestry experience through the new Urban Forestry & Climate Resilience Technical Career Pathway. Ultimately, this program will connect them with the professional workforce development program in urban forestry offered at SUNY Westchester Community College.
With this visionary grant initiative, the Village of Haverstraw and its neighboring Hudson Valley communities are poised to usher in a greener, more sustainable future that promises improved environmental conditions and educational opportunities for generations to come. The seeds of change have been sown, and the Hudson Valley is set to bloom with vitality and resilience.