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New York Power Authority approves $3.5 million in hydropower proceeds funding awards for Western New York

by jmaloni

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Fri, Dec 20th 2013 08:35 pm

Projects to support job training and workforce development, tourism, advanced manufacturing, business development, biotech and food-processing technology enterprises

The New York Power Authority trustees Tuesday approved more than $3.5 million in funding awards to 10 Western New York enterprises working in wide-ranging business sectors that include job training and workforce development, tourism, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and food processing.

The NYPA board action follows recommendations of awards by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board last month to the following enterprises: Ford Motor Co., Visit Buffalo Niagara, Niagara University, Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation, CNC Technical Solutions, Washington Mills and Lineagen. In addition to approving awards to the seven entities, the NYPA trustees approved three awards recommended by the WNYPPAB last September to OSC Manufacturing & Equipment Services, Niagara Label Co. and Yancey's Fancy.

"The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act is further evidence that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's innovative approach to economic development is working," said John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman. "The proceeds funds from unutilized hydropower from NYPA's Niagara power plant are another key element of the administration's efforts to grow and diversify the region's economy, which is demonstrated by the latest awards."

"The initiatives being supported by the latest round of proceeds awards represent crucial segments of the Western New York economy," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. "Gov. Cuomo understands that the state's partnerships with key enterprises must be aligned with the priorities of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. The latest funding awards by NYPA reflect enterprises that are part of a diversified, vibrant economy for the region."

Advanced Manufacturing

The largest award approved by the NYPA Trustees was $1 million to Ford Motor Co. for an expansion of its 63-year-old Hamburg stamping facility, located just outside of Buffalo. Ford has plans to invest $150 million to upgrade equipment and add 10 new assembly lines. The expansion will lead to the creation of 350 new positions at its facility above its current employment of 640, with startup of the new equipment and assembly lines by the end of 2014.

In addition to the proceeds award, NYPA and Empire State Development contributed to a package that includes low-cost hydropower and $7 million in capital grants and tax credits to help ensure Ford continues its competitive operation in Western New York.

The NYPA trustees also approved funding to three additional manufacturers to develop advanced manufacturing processes and assist in expansion plans. Washington Mills, located in Niagara Falls, was awarded up to $140,000 to upgrade an existing high-temperature arc furnace with new, state-of-the-art electrode controls. In addition, improvements will be made to the company's material handling system to improve efficiency and productivity. The company will retain 105 jobs and create two new positions.

OSC Manufacturing & Equipment Services was approved for up to $750,000 in funding for its expansion into downtown Buffalo. The $17.5 million project will include the build-out of manufacturing space to produce mini-excavators and other equipment, along with heavy equipment rental and service, metal manufacturing and attachment fabrication. The project will retain 20 employees and create 26 jobs.

Niagara Label Company, a family-owned business and an industry leader in label printing, will receive $150,000 in funding to complete the second phase of a two-phase, $1.56 million expansion that will increase production and create 17 new jobs in the Village of Akron.

Tourism

Visit Buffalo Niagara was approved for $250,000 to develop strategies designed to attract more visitors from both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.

A $250,000 funding award to Niagara University will establish the Niagara Global Tourism Institute, which will have the primary goal of making Western New York more competitive in the tourism industry.

The Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation received $150,000 for design and development of an open, accessible and conveniently located center where professional tour operators and visitors can obtain information on local and regional attractions.

Business Development

The NYPA Trustees approved funding of $75,000 to CNC Technical Solutions for an expansion project in Medina that will allow the firm to increase the capacity and scope of its industrial control systems reclamation business. The project includes infrastructure investment such as the renovation of a formerly abandoned church and warehouse facility that will be repurposed as a new manufacturing facility. The project will retain two jobs and create an additional three jobs. CNC has been a core business in the Medina community for more than 10 years.

Biotechnology

The NYPA trustees approved an award of $250,000 to Buffalo-based Lineagen, a company that operates a genetic testing service for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other forms of developmental delay. The company is undertaking a $5 million project to enhance sales and grow its technical staff. The project will create eight jobs.

Food Processing Technology

The NYPA trustees approved an award of $500,000 to Yancey's Fancy. As part of Yancey's Fancy's $20 million project, the NYPA funding will allow the fast-growing New York manufacturer of specialty and artisan cheeses to invest substantially in expanded facilities and capacity at its plant in Pembroke. The project will add 112,000-square-feet of production space for distribution, offices and employee facilities to the existing 29,000-square-foot plant. Yancey's Fancy will retain 65 jobs and create 50 new jobs.

The 10 enterprises approved for funding are consistent with the statutory provisions of the Western New York Power Proceeds Act, requiring that eligible projects be located within a 30-mile radius of NYPA's Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant in Lewiston. Proposed initiatives must also support the growth of business and lead to the creation or protection of jobs. Consideration is also given to the consistency of the initiatives with the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council's strategies and priorities.

NYPA contracts with the grant recipients will include provisions for periodic audits to ensure the funds are used for the stated economic development purposes.

One-third of the power from the Niagara plant is provided under state law to businesses within 30-miles in support of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region. The proceeds awards stem from Cuomo's signing of the Western New York Power Proceeds Act last year, which authorized NYPA to set aside the net earnings from the sale of unutilized hydropower - from the power dedicated to businesses - into the Western New York Economic Development Fund.

The fund has accrued approximately $26 million to date. More than $12 million in proceeds awards have been approved for awards by the NYPA trustees stemming from recommendations by the WNYPPAB. Tuesday's approvals by the NYPA trustees mark the fourth round of funding awards.

Statements by Others

"These grants help give the region the tools to improve self-sufficiency through efforts that support job creation and economic growth," said Congressman Brian Higgins.

"The Power Proceeds legislation that I championed in the Senate, provides companies in WNY the ability to expand and retain jobs all while growing the regional economy," said State Sen. George D. Maziarz, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. "The businesses selected in the 62nd District - Niagara University, Washington Mills Electro Minerals and CNC Technical Solutions - have shown dedication to staying in the community and continuing to employ Western New Yorkers. I want to thank the New York Power Authority, Gov. Cuomo and the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board for continuing to put into motion the purpose of the legislation."

Senator Tim Kennedy said, "This critical investment into the Western New York economy will help speed the pace of development and spur continued progress in Buffalo and throughout the region. By targeting our tourism, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing industries, this funding will capitalize on our region's strengths to help power economic growth and fuel job creation efforts that will ensure Western New Yorkers have the opportunity to secure good-paying jobs. Congratulations to Visit Buffalo Niagara, Lineagen Inc. and OSC Manufacturing & Equipment Services, three thriving enterprises in the 63rd Senate District that will receive NYPA funding to continue their important work."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "The WNY Power Proceeds program has proven to be an important economic development tool for Western New York. Thanks to power proceeds funding, the Ford Stamping Plant in Hamburg will continue to move forward with its planned expansion and added employment. I am pleased to see that our state continues to support advanced manufacturing in Western New York."

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