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Cuomo announces $245,000 in funding for two Western New York businesses

by jmaloni

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Fri, Apr 4th 2014 10:35 pm

Supports expansion of green manufacturing and agribusiness

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced more than $245,000 in funding awards to two Western New York companies for projects that will create 35 new jobs in the region, and expand manufacturing capability, increase productivity, provide job training, and grow market share for their businesses.

The New York Power Authority trustees approved funding to Eden Valley Growers Inc., and Living Green Insulation Products and Services LLC.

This represents the fifth round of funding awards approved by the trustees from recommendations made by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board.

"After decade of neglect, we have prioritized revitalizing Western New York's economy and bringing jobs to the region," Cuomo said. "The result has been businesses like these expanding operations and creating more jobs in the Buffalo area, instead of closing their doors and leaving. New York state is supporting the growth of these companies by providing funding to help leverage clean energy investments."

Eden Valley Growers is a vegetable farm cooperative consisting of 10 members, many of them third- and fourth-generation family farmers. EVG, located south of Buffalo in Eden, was approved for $80,000 to enable the co-op and its member growers to meet increased demand for its specialty vegetables by installing energy-efficient coolers and a slush ice cooler. The new equipment will maintain produce freshness, allowing an increase in the production and sales of fresh produce such as broccoli grown within a 100-mile radius, thus reducing out-of-state imports.

EVG's expansion will cost $400,000, create six new jobs at the distribution center, and is expected to result in a 20 percent increase in employment at its co-op members' farms over a three year period.

Living Green Insulation Products and Services, located in Buffalo, was approved for an award of $165,570 to renovate a downtown building originally constructed in 1860. This facility will house state-of-the-art, sustainable manufacturing operations to produce cellulose insulation and hydro-seed mulch from recycled paper products. Twenty-nine new employees are expected to be hired, and trained at the facility to ensure a skilled workforce for production and sales. The total cost of the project will be in excess of $891,000.

NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "The latest funding awards are closely aligned with strategic priorities of Gov. Cuomo and the Western New York Economic Development Council, the advancement of green manufacturing and the growth of agribusiness by New York's family-owned farms. I am pleased that the value of Power Authority hydropower is being maximized to provide funding so that key Western New York industries can expand, compete for and help create new jobs. A diversified economy is a strong economy."

NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "Funding provided by the sale of unallocated Power Authority hydropower is providing the means for Western New York businesses to bring new solutions to the marketplace and help grow jobs."

Applications for funding were evaluated under the state legislation that created the Western New York Economic Development Fund in 2012. The legislation stipulates eligible applicants be located within a 30-mile radius of NYPA's Niagara Hydroelectric Power Project, and that proposed initiatives support growth of businesses and other enterprises that lead to job creation. Consideration is also given to how the funding awards would be consistent with the strategies and priorities of the Western New York Economic Development Council.

Including the latest awards, 21 enterprises have received funding awards for a total of more than $13 million since the initial round of funding in 2013. Through the end of January, NYPA has made deposits of more than $27 million in the WNYEDF. At their March 25 meeting, the NYPA trustees also agreed to release up to an additional $15 million into the fund through Dec. 31. These monies will be deposited on a quarterly basis to support the funding awards.

State Sen. George D. Maziarz said, "The Power Proceeds awards, approved and funded by the New York Power Authority, continue to provide the engine for economic transformation in our region. Support of green technology and our family farmers is critical in anchoring and creating jobs in Western New York."

State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy said, "Gov. Cuomo was right in his insistence that the key to a prosperous business climate is building public and private sector partnerships to enact legislation that prioritizes job growth. The Power Proceeds Act is already providing dividends, through Power Authority funding, to future-focused companies like Living Green Insulation."

Assemblywoman Crystal People-Stokes said, "Green technology is not only good for the environment, it is also good for economic development. The Living Green Insulation funding award affirms the state's commitment to creating jobs in Buffalo's East Side community, while also promoting good stewardship of our environmental resources."

State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan said, "Consumer demand for wholesome, locally grown produce is increasing daily. With the funding award from the Power Authority, Eden Valley Growers, and its member farmers, are now positioned to aggressively meet a rapidly expanding market. It is especially rewarding to know that our natural resource, the Power Authority's Niagara hydropower, is having another solid impact on improving the company's competiveness and job growth in our region."

Assemblyman David DiPietro said, "New York family farmers have a proud heritage and a tough job. That is why it is especially important to support agribusiness, and the jobs it provides, with funding awards like those to Eden Valley Growers approved by the Power Authority Trustees."

Glenn Nellis, Town of Eden supervisor, said, "Eden Valley Growers and its continuing growth and success are vital for agriculture development and farmland preservation. Our community is grateful to Gov. Cuomo and his administration for the support they've given to this vital enterprise through the proceeds funding award."

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