On Monday, Sept. 14, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) approved its 2015 Progress Report, which includes the Council’s list of priority projects it is recommending for funding in Round V of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative.
The Progress Report, which provides an annual update for the nine-county region (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties), will now be finalized and submitted to New York State by the Sept. 21st deadline.
Following the Progress Report vote, the FLREDC also held a special public forum on its draft Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) plan, at which it proposed approximately two dozen initiatives to be highlighted within the URI plan as example projects for possible funding – should the Finger Lakes be selected as a URI winner. These initiatives focus on four main URI goals identified by the FLREDC: job growth, increasing regional wealth, attracting private investment and reducing poverty.
In a written statement FLREDC Co-chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman, said: “This year, Governor Cuomo has presented Upstate communities with unprecedented opportunities to leverage public funding for projects that can help transform our regional economy. By providing these priority projects and initiatives for public review we seek to ensure they embody the strategic and diversified approach necessary to grow our region.”
Included below is a summary of the highlighted initiatives proposed for the URI plan and the full list of endorsed Priority Projects being recommended for capital grant funding from Empire State Development (ESD) this year in Round V of the REDC awards. Note that while the Priority Project list herein does not include projects seeking CFA awards from State agencies other than ESD, those projects still have the opportunity to receive funding.
URI Highlighted Initiatives
The FLREDC released the following proposed initiatives to be included in the URI plan. These initiatives are highlighted in the plan to serve as example opportunities for possible public and private investment in key strategic areas identified by the plan, but are not specific funding recommendations:
- Agriculture & Food Production – Support of FLX Food, an initiative focused on organics and the future of the food ecosystem; an Eco-Brewing District created by North American Breweries around their facility downtown Rochester at High Falls; and a new initiative to cultivate sustainable food production, capitalizing on expertise already at Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University.
- Next-Generation Manufacturing & Technology – Several projects highlighted in all three key hub locations, including: (1) Eastman Business Park (EBP) – Sweetwater’s biorefinery project; improvement of technology assets at EBP specifically addressing capacity to grow companies in energy storage, materials and nanotechnology; establishment of an AIM Photonics Manufacturing Center at EBP; (2) Downtown Innovation Zone – Rochester Regional Fund to invest in key downtown assets; redevelopment of the Inner Loop, which will include 17 acres of new developable parcels; (3) Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) – Project Eagle to bring a solar manufacturing facility as the park’s first tenant; confidential nanoscale manufacturing project considering STAMP as a site.
- Pathways to Prosperity – Monroe Community College’s Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center (FWD Center) at EBP; support for the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) based around the creation of a coordinated system for those in need; expansion of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection; and programs to help ex-offenders and the working poor receive job training and placement.
- Entrepreneurship & Development – Creation of a Finger Lakes Venture Fund to provide critically necessary capital to startups; buildout an urban development ecosystem for business efforts in the urban core; SUNY Geneseo’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development, which will provide a new central location for expanded business services.
- Higher Education & Research – UR’s Goergen Institute for Data Science to meet the growing need for data scientists; RIT’s Center for Advanced Technology in Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing for 3D printing commercialization and product development; UR’s Neurorestoration Institute to expand the areas preeminence in this growing field.
2015 FLREDC Priority Project Recommendations for CFA Round V -- Genesee County
- Town of Alabama Water Project to Support STAMP $1,500,000
- Genesee County IDA Le Roy Food and Technology Park $1,000,000
- Genesee County IDA (Gateway LDC) Ag Park Infrastructure $500,000
This year, the 10 Regional Councils will once again compete for awards from up to $750 million in state economic development resources through Round V of the REDC competition. Additionally, through the new Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), seven regions – Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District, and Mid-Hudson – are eligible to compete for three $500 million awards, disbursed at a rate of $100 million per year for five years.
The three Upstate winners of the URI will receive approximately $130 million each this year ($100 million in URI funding, and an estimated $30 million from Round V of the REDC competition). Aside from those regions, three regions will earn “Top Performer” distinction in the REDC competition and will receive approximately $105 million each. Finally, the remaining four regions will receive approximately $90 million each through the REDC competition – which is more than the average amount awarded to the top place finisher in prior years. This approach ensures that no region is a “loser,” while also maintaining the competitive nature that has worked so well to bring local business, academic, and community leaders together to develop long term, impressive economic visions for their regions.
Show Your Support for the FLREDC URI Plan
The FLREDC today also launched a new website where anyone can sign up in support of the draft URI plan: www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/flredc-uri-support-form
Detailed comments for the URI plan will continue to be accepted until September 18th on the website: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/flredc-uri-public-response-form
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After four rounds of the REDC process, nearly $3 billion has been awarded to more than 3,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 150,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
About the Upstate Revitalization Initiative
In January of this year, Governor Cuomo announced the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) and the partnership between the Regional Economic Development Councils to invest $1.5 billion in Upstate New York. The URI is an opportunity for communities to address the economic challenges of their regions and work together in bringing jobs back Upstate. The URI is a separate competition and deadline from the REDC process. The URI includes up to $500 million for three regions to implement over a five-year period. The following regions may submit one revitalization plan by Oct. 5, 2015: Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District and Mid-Hudson.