TROY, N.Y. — A small dip in population could end up dealing a big blow to the city of Troy.
The city could lose $2.5 million in federal funding because its population has dropped by about 125 to 49,946 — 54 people shy of 50,000. Fifty-thousand is a key population threshold used by the federal government when setting funding amounts for the Community Development Block Grant program.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer visited Troy on Monday to discuss the problem. The Democrat said he would oppose the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed funding cut, which he said would amount to "a dagger through the heart of Troy."
"I will do everything I can to fight it," Schumer said, standing in front of newly rehabilitated homes in Troy's south side. Schumer noted that the city of Niagara Falls faces a similar problem, as its population recently fell below 50,000.
Troy, which sits just northeast of Albany along the Hudson River, was once one of the nation's leading industrial cities, with a population that stood at nearly 80,000 a century ago. Following the city's long economic decline the number of residents dropped to 47,000 about 10 years ago before a recent revitalization push helped increased the population to just over 50,000.
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia said the federal funds have been critical to his city's initiatives to revitalize neighborhoods by paying for sidewalks, streetlights, street paving and the renovation of vacant buildings.
"It's something we rely on," he said.