Gravesend and Bensonhurst are seeing the green.
After a Thursday, June 11 awards ceremony presented by the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, the Gravesend and Bensonhurst planning committee was awarded $1 million in bonus funding and the top honor at Round II of the NY Rising to the Top Awards.
The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, established in 2013 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, was created to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to communities severely damaged by Hurricanes Sandy, Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, according to New York State’s official storm recovery website.
The program—funded almost entirely by over $600 million of federal funds through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program—focuses on facilitating community redevelopment planning and community resiliency. The program has allocated $25 million for planning in the most affected communities, according to the governor’s office.
“Rebuilding our communities is something that we cannot do from Albany or Washington; rather, we have to do it community by community across the state,” Cuomo said last year. “The way to really build New York back was to go to affected communities and ask them to come together and figure out a plan for what their specific community needed, so that we could fund their vision. Every community felt the storm, but they all felt it differently.”
The Rising to the Top Awards, a competition meant to foster innovation and encourage collaboration, chose Gravesend and Bensonhurst to receive the top honor for Best Inclusion of Vulnerable Populations.
“The goal was to actively engage the community in the process of creating a pragmatic and unifying plan that envisions a resilient and sustainable future for the community,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, co-chair of the Gravesend and Bensonhurst planning committee and district manager of Community Board 11. “The committee stressed the importance of engaging socially vulnerable populations in the diverse community through the public outreach process, including the elderly, low-income and non-English speaking populations.”