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Dunkirk Part Of State Housing Pledge

DUNKIRK — Dunkirk Mayor Kate Wdowiasz was among the statewide municipal leaders who joined Gov. Kathy Hochul as she highlighted the first 20 entrants into her “pro-housing communities” pledge program Wednesday.

“Seeing as how we’re a small lake community and city, it means everything,” Wdowiasz said of Dunkirk’s participation. “We have a developer who is willing to invest in our community now and that’s because of the pro housing designation.”

That was apparently a reference to Regan Development’s proposal last month to build two new housing complexes on Washington Avenue and East Fourth Street.

Wdowiasz’s comments came as the mayors in the room were asked to describe what Hochul’s housing push meant to their communities. The governor herself pointed to affordable housing as a vital part of the state’s well-being.

“We are not on a path to achieve our full potential if we don’t have enough housing… because we have stopped building,” Hochul said.

She said previously, “We had too many restrictions, too many barriers. … The more housing we build, the more we meet the demand, the more prices go down and we make our communities affordable again.”

She has a five-year, $25 billion plan to boost affordable housing. However, municipalities that want to access the money are supposed to sign her pledge.

Hochul acknowledged that when she started the program last year, she heard from local leaders that there was a lot of “stick.” Holding out a bunch of carrots, she declared, “I’ve got $650 million carrots out there.”

While the first 20 signers of the pledge, including Dunkirk, were highlighted Wednesday, Hochul said about 80 other municipalities statewide had indicated to her office that they planned to sign it.

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