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Collaboration Is Key In COVID-19 Response Efforts in Rensselaer County

Community leaders have formed a pandemic response committee to collaborate on COVID-19 related initiatives throughout Rensselaer County. With a three step approach the committee looks to understand the impact the coronavirus has played in the business community, address the need, and support the safe reopening of businesses alongside longer term initiatives to bring vibrancy back to downtowns and main streets throughout the county. 

To understand the full economic impact of COVID-19, the response committee has released a business impact survey and requests all businesses, nonprofits, and sole proprietors in Rensselaer County to respond. Complete the business impact survey at

“Rensselaer County consists of businesses across industries from local retailers and restaurants to hotels, cultural nonprofits, tech, manufacturing hubs and everything in between,” said Robert Pasinella, Director of the Rensselaer County IDA. “Today most of these businesses are on PAUSE, though as we look at the future of businesses in our community it is these leaders beside me that will help our local businesses to pivot, to push through, and to meet the requirements of this new normal. Together we are strong.”

“Bringing together our community’s business associations, community partners, lending institutions, and state & local government officials, we can better coordinate our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and develop a comprehensive plan to better meet the evolving needs of businesses, non-profits, and other organizations in the Collar City,” said City of Troy Mayor Patrick Madden. “We are eager to continue working with our partners throughout the City of Troy, Rensselaer County, and New York State to provide relief and assistance to our businesses, both big and small, that are hurting during this challenging time for our economy and community. Small businesses are the heart of our local economy, and we are committed to supporting those who have contributed to the City’s renaissance and rebirth.”

Viewing the committee’s role as part of a larger regional and statewide economic development effort, the committee consists of members representing not only Rensselaer County based organizations and businesses residing within, but also Capital Region and New York State based economic development and funding agencies. 

“Bringing together public, private, academic, and non-profit partnerships will be critical to restarting and reshaping our economy,” said Ryan Silva, Executive Director New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC). “We appreciate the opportunity to bring a statewide perspective to the committee and share best practices from across New York State.”

Once the full impact of COVID-19 and the effects of PAUSE on business within our community is understood, federal funding will be distributed and many of our small businesses will be without. It is community based funding agencies and local municipalities that will make our communities whole through grants and community based loan programs. This collaboration of economic development agencies, local funders, municipalities, and local business leaders coming together creates a holistic approach to these efforts.

“Every business in our community is important. Small businesses owned by women, minorities, and people of low-income have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and are struggling to receive Emergency Disaster funding,” said Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director of Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, Inc. “I want to ensure that every small business gets the support it needs to stay open. The Community Loan Fund is working collaboratively with municipalities, banks, foundations, Chambers of Commerce and individuals to create a COVID-19 Small Business Continuity Grant Program to assist small businesses in the Capital Region with the funding they desperately need to remain open.” 

"As we prepare for recovery of Rensselaer County, the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce will be integral to represent the holistic needs of our county's business community," said Kate Manley, President of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce. "In order to fully restore our local economy, a strategic, calculated and inclusive plan - with input from our small town hubs and vibrant downtowns - will be essential." 

“During a time that offers such uncertainty, it is crucial that we work together,” said Katie Hammon, Executive Director, Downtown Troy Business Improvement District. “Our downtowns and main streets are made up of innovative, resilient businesses that have shown their ability to pivot, collaborate, and address community needs. It is our job as leaders in our communities to reinforce these efforts, provide resources, and share best practices to ensure these businesses are alive and thriving for years to come.”

The Rensselaer County Pandemic Response Committee members include representatives from Rensselaer County, the City of Troy, Downtown Troy Business Improvement District, Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Capital Region Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), Empire State Development (ESD), Center for Economic Growth (CEG), NYS Economic Development Council (NYSEDC), Innovate 518, Community Loan Fund, National Grid, Troy Savings Bank Foundation, Troy Cultural Alliance, Troy Redevelopment Fund, Collective Effort, Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Troy Innovation Garage, Tyny Co., and Old Daley Custom Catering. 

Complete the business impact survey at

To find out more about the committee please contact Katie Hammon, Executive Director of the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District at [email protected]. You can also find resources for small businesses within Rensselaer County at the following sites. 


COVID-19 Small Business Resource Links:

  • City of Troy

  • Downtown Troy BID

  • Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce

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