Cuomo Kills 'Urban Renewal,' Other Agencies
If you grew up during the 1960s, you probably heard of 'Urban Renewal,' an effort by the federal government to modernize and revive downtowns across the country.
Watertown had an Urban Renewal program; so did Ogdensburg and several other smaller north country communities.
'Urban Renewal' as an idea - tear down the old, build something new - effectively ran out of gas by the mid-70s, by which time parts of downtown Watertown (along Court and Arsenal streets) had been razed and a key section of downtown Ogdensburg had been shut off to traffic.
The program was not generally viewed as a success, here or across the country.
(Read the Wkipedia entry on the topic here.)
But somehow, the Urban Renewal agencies that were set up when there was lots of government money available have continued to exist.
On Thursday. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law eliminating Urban Renewal and other agencies across the state that are no longer doing anything. In the north country, that meant the elimination of the Watertown, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur, Potsdam and Massena Urban Renewal agencies.
"Since taking office, my administration has worked to make government more efficient and accountable to taxpayers, including doing more with less and finding ways to reduce the costs facing localities," Governor Cuomo said.
"Given that these authorities and agencies no longer serve the public interest, it only makes sense to do away with them for good."
In all, Cuomo eliminated 28 local public authorities and 95 urban renewal and industrial development agencies that are inactive or no longer needed.
The affected agencies and authorities have no outstanding debt or other obligations. The law transfers the eliminated entities' remaining books, records, and rights to the municipality where each is located, according to a statement from the governor's office.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Watertown, NY
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