Responding to feedback from the public, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has extended the deadline for 2007 Smart Growth applications, the department announced in a press release recently. The extension came in response to a direct request made by the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages and as a result of enthusiastic public support for the program, the department said. Municipal governments existing completely, or partially, within the boundaries of the Adirondack Park, now have until December 28, 2007 for application submittal. The 2007 Adirondack Park Community Smart Growth Program was announced in July by DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. In partnership with the Adirondack Park Agency and the Department of State, the program provides $1 million in direct grants to Adirondack Park communities for the purpose of sustainable development, environmental protection, and community livability programs. The program further develops its goals by establishing financial parameters, and associated caps, for proposals whose scope includes local, regional, and park-wide projects either independently, or in conjunction with educational or non-profit organizations. Reflecting a sensitivity and understanding of the challenging financial factors facing Adirondack communities; the program seeks to assist local government leaders in striking a balance between economic vitality and environmental stewardship. Applicants may choose between three project categories, including Village, Hamlet and Town Center Revitalization, Sustainable Economic Development, and Cultural, Environmental and Natural Adirondack Resources. Since its announcement, a series of public workshops have been held with the intention of educating local residents and community leaders in the grant submittal process. Were really excited to be offering this program, says Betsy Lowe, DEC Region 5 Director. I think our Commissioner and the Governor strongly recognize the relationship between good planning and the conservation of our resources. Given the special circumstances in the Adirondack Park with all the State land holdings, it poses some unique challenges and opportunities for the planning process. With this grant program, we see it as another opportunity to assist local governments in their future planning. Throughout the series of public meetings, DEC and State officials are also soliciting grant applications for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, through funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund. Municipal governments have until November 30 to submit grant applications for such projects as local (or regional) waterfront revitalization, waterfront development, creation of Blueway Trails, and watershed management plans.