Carey Institute to use $10K grant for rural-urban connections

Enterprise file photo — Janet Haseley

Rebecca Platel samples cider she helped press at a demonstration at the Rensselaerville Historical Society’s annual meeting in 2016. Platel spoke this week about a grant she hopes will help connect urban resources with rural ones such as agriculture in Albany County.

RENSSELAERVILLE — A $10,000 grant to the town of Rensselaerville and the not-for-profit Carey Institute for Global Good is to help connect the rural Hilltowns with surrounding cities.

“The approach of looking at the connections instead of how we’re different is sort of the crux of the project,” said Rebecca Platel, Sustainable Communities program manager at the Carey Institute.

The grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway Community Grants Program was awarded to the town, said Platel, but the actions under the grant will be undertaken by the Carey Institute, which will be reimbursed by the grant.

“The idea is that we are connected to urban areas in many ways,” said Platel; these include Albany, Cobleskill, and Hudson. “And we might become better connected in many ways that support the community.”

The grant program has five different criteria for projects to improve communities surrounding the Hudson River: natural and cultural resource protection, economic development, public access, regional planning, and heritage and environmental education. Platel said that the institute is interested in rural and economic development.

She said economic development is often designed with either a rural or urban community in mind. Albany County is “roughly half-rural, half-urban,” she said, and this project is to help both communities rather than look if the support is equitable.

The project, which will begin in February, will first frame its scope. The Carey Institute will speak to groups of people in Rensselaerville and ask how the Hilltowns are connected to urban areas, said Platel, adding that community members are welcome to contact her or the institute to participate.

The project is purposefully broad at the moment, she said, but some areas she expects will be looked at include seniors and the need for transportation and access to social connections and services. She also hopes to look at farm issues and use market connections in urban areas to help Hilltown farmers.

She said, too, that the Rensselaerville Town Board is interested in accessing resources in the city such as technology and academic collaboration.

The project took about two or three months to develop, including approaching the town board, before submitting a grant application, she said.

“They were interested and supportive and had ideas I didn’t really expect,” said Platel, of the board.

Rensselaerville is located in what is known as the Hudson River Valley Greenway, but is also, through a town resolution, a designated Greenway community, said Platel who lives in Rensselaerville.

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