The following is a story by Times staff writer Nancy Madsen on Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy's visit to Watertown.
Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy told military and community officials that Fort Drum is a priority of state government and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
“This is the largest economic driver you would ever see,” Lt. Gov. Duffy said at a ground-breaking ceremony for Beaver Meadow Apartments on Thursday morning. “Housing is a priority of the regional council, of the governor and it takes the collaboration of all the leaders here coming together and making it a priority.”
The project includes 296 units that will receive $2.4 million in tax credits for low- and moderate-income units through the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Through the regional economic development process, the state also added $4 million to the Community Rental Housing Program pot, which made almost $7 million in awards to Beaver Meadow Apartments developer COR Development Co., Fayetteville, and to Morgan Townhouses developer Morgan Management, Pittsford. The first $7 million came from the Development Authority of the North Country, Jefferson County and Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.
Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division, told Lt. Gov. Duffy and the more than 75 local leaders that the financial commitment from the state was emblematic of the support of the region and state for his soldiers.
“Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division are of strategic importance to the entire nation,” Gen. Milley said. “From the very beginning, the people of New York and the people of Northern New York have been tremendously supportive of the U.S. Army, the people's Army.”
Regional leaders are striving to build 1,035 units for returning soldiers to Fort Drum from deployments in Afghanistan. The vacancy rate is at seven-tenths of 1 percent.
“Gov. Cuomo listened to our concerns, listened to the concerns of the region and committed resources to conclude the mission,” DANC CEO James W. Wright said. “We truly appreciate that commitment.”