Cuomo Announces $785 Million in Economic Development Funding Through Regional Councils

December 8, 2011 Updated Dec 8, 2011 at 8:32 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Cuomo Announces $785 Million in Economic Development Funding Through Regional Councils

December 8, 2011 Updated Dec 8, 2011 at 8:32 PM EDT

Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced that $785 million has been awarded through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, continuing his efforts to redesign the way state government works in order to drive economic growth and create jobs.

Announced in July, Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development from a top-down development model to a community-based, performance driven approach which empowers individual areas to develop comprehensive strategic plans that invest in regional solutions to create jobs and economic growth. As part of the Regional Council process, a Strategic Plan Review Committee was chosen to analyze and rank the strategic plans for each region competing for $200 million in specially targeted economic development funding.

"Regional collaborations and planning is a roadmap to get New Yorkers back to work," Cuomo said. "The plans submitted by all ten regions were truly extraordinary. For the first time, we are putting the power of the State Government behind the innovation of our people, giving them the tools to rebuild our economy."

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, "Under Governor Cuomo's transformative Regional Council initiative, New York finally has the strategic economic development planning to change the way it does business. By engaging the expertise of those who know their regions best we can capitalize on each region's greatest assets to maximize job creation and economic growth."

The plans are the result of months of consideration by the Regional Councils and input from the public in each region. The process included holding over 100 public meetings, forums and community workshops across the State. Thousands of New Yorkers contributed to the development of the plans through these events.

In addition to the strategic planning grants made available through the Regional Council initiative, a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) was created to give businesses and other entities streamlined and expedited access to economic development funding from nine state agencies and 29 existing programs. Awards for CFA projects were based on the endorsement of the local Regional Council and the technical scoring of various state funding agencies. Additionally, approximately 800 eligible applicants will receive funding from NYSERDA's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Consistent with the Governor's Executive Order issued earlier this year to increase Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation in state contracting, all projects awarded grants through this initiative must use best efforts to reach the goal of 20% MWBE participation.


Strategy for Strengthening Research & Development and Other Key Sectors

In its plan, "A Strategy for Prosperity in Western New York," the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council focused on preparing the region's workforce for employment in key industry sectors, driving innovation and commercialization, investing in smart growth infrastructure, and attracting more visitors.

The plan identified eight industry sectors as strategic to the Region's growth: health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, energy, higher education, professional services, agriculture, bi-national logistics and tourism.

Leveraging Research to Drive Innovation

$5.1 million will support the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Genome project to build a robust approach to personalized medicine. The approach will enhance the study of genetic sequences, the health information data associated with individuals' genetic sequences, and enable analysis and discovery to inform more personalized, and more effective, medicine.

$500,000 will enable the Hauptman-Woodward Crystallization Laboratory's expansion of its crystallization laboratory biotech services, to offer competitive, revenue-generating and sustainable research.

$4 million for development of the Jacobs Institute of its Center for Innovation in Medicine, a cutting-edge, state of the art medical device prototyping facility at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This facility will be the only U.S. center for entrepreneurship in the heart of a clinical facility. It will include a fabrication center, a machine shop and a clean room to create new devices and techniques and a training center for physicians to test those devices.

$2.8 million for Alfred University to purchase equipment and renovate facilities at its High-Temperature Materials Characterization Laboratory. Improvements will include capacity for testing applications for high-temperature materials including labs in wind energy/fluid mechanics; thermal science/solar energy; photovoltaic solar energy/alternative fuels and power conversion. Alfred's lab already provides critical research support to several major New York State companies and small fuel cell development companies.

Investing in Smart Growth Infrastructure:

$1 million to reconstruct East State Street (NYS Route 417), home to and a major entrance to several of Olean's largest employers and the nexus of city's commercial area, will enhance access to jobs, services and the downtown area.

$1 million to renovate long-vacant and deteriorated properties located at State and Union Streets in Olean's downtown district. This revitalization will be critical to encouraging private investment downtown.

$4 million to enable a major project to strategically connect five downtown districts of Buffalo. The project will reestablish high quality multi-modal transportation corridors that link Main Street, the Genesee Gateway and the Buffalo Niagara Medical campus, by making streetscape improvements and returning cars to Main Street.

Investing in Tourism and Travel

$2 million for renovation of nearly 90,000 square feet of the former Rainbow Centre by Niagara County Community College for a Hospitality and Tourism Center, to include the Culinary Institute of Niagara Falls. A transformational project, the center will both leverage and support the regional assets of Niagara Falls. The facility will be the primary home of the Center's academic and administrative offices, including Culinary Institute classrooms and labs for all hospitality and tourism academic degree and certificate programs.

$6.8 million for a 1,000-space expansion of parking facilities at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport in response to market demand.

Investing in Energy Development

$1.25 million to assist Hebeler Corporation in expanding production of Liquid Natural Gas fuel tanks for medium and heavy duty trucks to meet increased market demand.

Investing in 21st Century Workforce

$800,000 for the John R. Oishei Foundation, expanding the Buffalo Arts and Technology Center to support training and education for under-represented populations in Buffalo.

$2 million to construct the Urban Automotive Center of Excellence in Buffalo's Fruit Belt District to provide automotive repair training, GED certificates and mentorship assistance to local residents. The project is being developed through a partnership with Erie Community College, General Motors and the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association.

The approved Western New York regional plan includes 96 funded projects totaling $100.3 million.

For a full appendix of the projects, click HERE.