Niagara County lawmakers received the first segment of a two-part annual briefing on the state of the county's economy and economic development efforts from the men tasked with leading the Herculean effort to keep Niagara County's economy growing against the backdrop of a weak national economy Tuesday night.
County Legislature Economic Development Committee Chairman Rick Updegrove, R-Lockport, and Niagara County Industrial Development Agency Chairman Henry M. Sloma delivered the address, which clocked in at just under 20 minutes, highlighting both economic development successes in 2011 and laying out part of the county's strategy for 2012.
When the Legislature meets again in two weeks, Updegrove will flesh out that strategy fully in a second half to Tuesday's address.
"Functioning as the Niagara County Center for Economic Development, the Niagara County Department of Economic Development and the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency have achieved many successes for Niagara County," Updegrove told a packed Legislative chamber, with county legislators, department heads, and approximately 50 spectators on hand for the address.
Updegrove then reiterated the core mission of the county's Economic Development Department.
"The Department of Economic Development has obtained grants to clean up brownfields, turned underutilized land into certified shovel-ready development sites, participated in the work of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council ensuring that Niagara County received its fair share, and worked with local municipalities to promote sustainable development," Updegrove said.
"The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency has put specific emphasis on our urban cores through the Opportunity Zones program, retained large manufacturers, helped companies expand, and attracted new businesses to Niagara County," Updegrove said, summing up the agency's successes in 2011. "The NCIDA has expanded the number of jobs and opportunities available to Niagara County residents, and will continue to do so in the year ahead."