A total of $68 million in grant awards was steered to 276 local projects between November 2021 and March 2022 by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), according to data the Empire Center recently received pursuant to a FOIL request.

The governor and state legislators hand-picked most of the grantees, under a program that allows them to direct DASNY dollars to state and local projects.

The largest grant was a $6.4 million award to the New York City Housing Authority for phase one and two of the rehabilitation and repurposing of existing space at the Sedgwick houses development.

The second largest grant was a $4 million award to the Legislature itself, for the purchase and installation of technology equipment for the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission.  It’s not clear why the project is being financed outside the annual Legislative Branch appropriation that funds the Commission’s operational expenses.

Among the other awards:

  • $1.5 million to create a Mobile Museum of Tolerance for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Inc. In New York City;
  • $1 million for renovations to the Cazenovia pool in the City of Buffalo;
  • $500,000 for improvements to the year-round farmer’s market in the town of Brighton in the Finger Lakes region;
  • $275,000 for the construction of a splash pad at Veteran’s Memorial Park in the town of Orangetown in the Mid-Hudson region;
  • $250,000 for the reconfiguration and paving of an elementary school parking lot in Chittenango Central School District in Central New York;
  • $100,000 for the purchase of an electrofishing boat for Cazenovia College in Central New York;
  • $50,000 for the installation of sculptural bike racks in the city of Newburgh in the Mid-Hudson region
  • and $50,000 for the construction of a dog park in the town of Parma in the Finger Lakes region.

A total of 58 projects received a collective $13 million in grants to build or improve recreational facilities, local parks and community centers. An additional 78 grants totaling $9 million went to police, fire and other public safety projects and equipment. And 27 grants totaling over $6 million went to paving, road and parking improvements.

A total of $31 million was channeled to local entities state-wide, including $6.2 million to 45 villages; $6.7 million to 43 towns; $4.5 million to 19 New York City public schools; $4.4 million to 14 cities outside the Big Apple; $2.9 million to 18 counties; $2 million to 14 elementary/secondary schools outside New York City; $2.9 million to colleges and universities and $1.4 million to public libraries.

The entire list of projects is posted on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website.

The awards are funded by bonds issued without voter approval. Most of the grants are authorized under the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SMFP), a $2 billion slush fund created in 2013 that lets state lawmakers and the governor name the recipients. The Budget Division anticipates paying out $260 million from SMFP alone during the current fiscal year.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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