Ford Expansion Receives $1M Backing

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 10:24 AM EDT

By Staff, Business First

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Ford Expansion Receives $1M Backing

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 10:24 AM EDT

A $101 million proposed expansion at Ford Motor Co. in Woodlawn is among seven area developments in multiple fields to receive funding approved by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board.

Ford is to receive $1 million — just under half the total amount okayed by the board — for a modernization of the Buffalo Stamping Plant. The automaker has not yet released details on the project but the board said funding would be used for workforce training tied to new technologies including robots for material handling, welding and roll hemming, weld controllers with adaptive welding and other technologies. officials said the technologies will require extensive training for the workforce, including 100 new jobs, which is what the recommended funding will go toward.

The additional funding recommended by the Allocation Board is for tourism projects:

• Visit Buffalo Niagara — $250,000 for a cross-border marketing initiative. The potential impact of enhanced tourism spending in the economy can have significant economic impact. If 5 percent of day shoppers are convinced to stay a night and turn a day trip into an overnight stay, the impact would be $9.7 million in new net spending.

• Niagara University — $250,000 to establish the Niagara Global Tourism Institute (Niagara GTI) focused on market research, skills programming and innovative application of digital technologies and “smart growth” principles to regional tourism strategies.

Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation — $150,000 for a visitors’ center.

In the area of Health/Life Sciences the board recommended the following:

• Lineagen — $250,000 for the company’s development biomarkers that are useful in determining chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) progression rate. This $5 million project will provide the sales, technical and bioinformatics staff necessary to offer Lineagen’s current genetic test to the region and to complete development of new risk-based tests that will improve clinical management for these patients. The project will create eight to 12 jobs.

Advanced Manufacturing funding includes:

• Washington Mills — up to $140,000 to upgrade an existing high temperature arc furnace in Niagara Falls with new, state-of-the-art electrode controls, which the company anticipates an energy savings of 2 to 4 percent (approximately 400 Mkwh-500Mkwh annually) and the ability to make a higher quality finished product. The project will retain 35 jobs and create two positions.

Business Development:

• CNC Technical Solutions Inc. — $75,000 as the company relocates to Medina, Orleans County to expand its operations as part of a $338,850 project. CNC Technical Solutions will retain two jobs and create an additional three jobs.