ALBANY, NY — A total of $104 million in grant awards was steered to 305 local projects between April and October 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 $15 million award to Suffolk County for the construction of a community center.

Among other funded projects:

  • $2 million for interior renovations of the Universal Hip Hop Museum in New York City;
  • $500,000 for the construction and installation of a new roof on the Cazenovia Ice Rink in the City of Buffalo;
  • $500,000 for improvements to ice arena bathrooms and locker rooms in Nassau County;
  • $500,000 for the restoration of the Persian pool at the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy in the Mid-Hudson Valley;
  • $300,000 to construct a “state-of-the-art animal shelter” for the Town of Saugerties in the Mid-Hudson Valley;
  • $279,000 for masonry restoration of the exterior of Ghent Town Hall in the Capital region;
  • $250,000 to demolish and install a new bathhouse facility for the Town of Chateaugay in the North Country;
  • $250,000 to improve the Town of Hamburg’s athletic fields at William D. Williams Park in Western New York;
  • $250,000 to replace the Meachem playground and expand Salem Hyde playground at Syracuse City School District in Central New York;
  • $125,000 to purchase a nursing simulator mannequin for Orange County Community College in the Mid-Hudson Valley; and
  • $100,000 to purchase a dump truck for the Village of Clinton in the Mohawk Valley.

A total of 24 local park projects received a collective $5.7 million in grant funds. An additional 35 grants totaling $9.5 million will go to build or improve athletic, fitness or recreational facilities. And $2 million went to municipal restroom renovations.

The $104 million was channeled to local entities state-wide, including $15 million to 55 villages; $10 million to 44 towns; $9.6 million to 48 New York City public schools; $6 million to 11 cities outside New York; $5.4 million to police, fire and other public safety entities; $4 million to 16  elementary/secondary schools outside New York City; $3.6 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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