State gives Stratton ANG $125k grant

— Military installations statewide are receiving an injection of cash amid a federal budget crunch.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, Nov. 30, announced $2.9 million in grants have been awarded to help municipalities and community organizations support local military installations. The Military Base Retention grants program is a state effort to protect National Guard resources following Hurricane Sandy, and maintain the economic and employment opportunities at major military facilities.

“New York’s military installations are a major driver of local economies, and we will fight to keep these bases strong and secure, right here in our state,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “These grants will help communities across New York state join the state’s efforts to preserve these important military installations as well as the thousands of jobs and the nearly $2 billion in economic impact supported by the bases.”

The Schenectady Military Affairs Council was awarded $125,000 to support the 109th Airlift Wing, located at Stratton Air National Guard base in Glenville, and its unique polar missions. There are more than 2,000 jobs at military facilities in Schenectady County, according to county legislature Chairwoman Judith Dagostino.

Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner was grateful the county was selected to receive funding.

“We worked closely with Schenectady County’s economic development team led by Metroplex to secure this funding that will be used to protect missions and jobs at this key military installation located in our community,” Steiner said in a statement.

Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, touted Stratton as being the only facility in the country to provide air cargo lift capability to polar destinations. He said the base not only holds strategic importance, but also is a “vital economic engine” for the area.

Other military facilities receiving grant support include four grants for Rome Laboratory totaling nearly $1.2 million, two grants for Fort Drum totaling $600,000, two grants for Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station totaling $425,000 and a grant to the Watervliet Arsenal for $300,000.

Organizations administering the grants can use awarded funds to communicate the importance of local bases and their missions, improve military facilities, promote additional missions for state-based military units and support any other efforts to sustain or expand the presence of military bases in the state. Grantees are expected to secure local and private dollars to further expand their efforts.

Grant funding cannot be used to pay, retain or hire lobbyists or lobbying firms, and organizations receiving grants cannot have lobbyists on their executive staff or board.

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