This Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York, a fact that was apparently not lost on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday as the Empire State Development Corp. (ESD), the state’s chief economic development agency, announced that it was awarding $17 million in Community and Cultural Enhancement Fund grants to 38 community and cultural initiatives in Lower Manhattan.
The funds, which were awarded through ESD’s subsidiary, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC), were the culmination of a year-long process that saw over 250 non-profit and cultural groups submit applications for combined funding support of $191 million since applications were made available last September. According to LMDC, funds were allocated to grantees in three categories, with $9 million going to “Community Projects”, approximately $7 million going to “Cultural Projects” and just over $1 million going to “Events.”
“The revitalization of Lower Manhattan is a testament to the resilience of New Yorkers in the face of great tragedy,” said Empire State Development President and CEO Kenneth Adams. “These grants will go a long way toward redeveloping Lower Manhattan into a premier center for culture, commerce, and tourism.”
Adams, who was selected by Cuomo back in January to lead ESD, expressed his thanks to the governor for making the grants possible. Adams said he credited Cuomo “for providing the strong support these community-based non-profit organizations need to continue their valuable service to the local community.”
Selection was based on the capacity of a project or organization to further spur activity in Lower Manhattan by fostering tourism, creating jobs and building on the existing infrastructure of the area. The award-winning grantees were ultimately chosen by the Cultural Grant Advisory Committee—a six-member panel composed of three representatives from both the state and city.
Top grantees included the Museum of the City of NY F/B/O Seaport Museum New York, which was awarded $2 million, The Fund for Public Schools, which received approximately $1.5 million, and Grant Street Settlement, which earned $1 million.
On the eve of 9/11’s anniversary, LMDC Chairman Avi Schick said he was happy to see that the many vital organizations that make up the neighborhood were not being forgotten. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the commitment by Governor Cuomo and Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg to the future of Lower Manhattan,” he said.
This isn’t the first time LMDC, which was created in December 2001 by then-Governor George Pataki and then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has injected much-needed funding support into the neighborhood, whose business and cultural institutions have been ailing since the 9/11 attacks. Over the past decade, LMDC has awarded an estimated $30 million to Lower Manhattan arts organizations as well as $40 million to the neighborhood’s other community groups.
“As we approach the 9/11 anniversary,” said New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, “it is a time to recognize the remarkable rebuilding we have accomplished.”