Regional Economic Development Council approves $2.286 million county funding application; funds to purchase, redevelop land at Lackawanna industrial site
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined state Sen. Tim Kennedy (63rd District) and Assemblyman Sean Ryan (149th District) to announce Erie County was awarded $2.286 million in funding through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application program. The money will be used along with existing county funding to purchase and redevelop land at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna.
Awarded by the state's Regional Economic Development Council, Erie County's successful 2015 application resulted in the REDC granting the full amount the county applied for, which will be used along with $500,000 in CFA funding obtained in 2014 to further revitalize the growing Bethlehem site.
"This funding provides crucial support to our efforts to redevelop the Bethlehem site and build on the success that is happening there, turning one of the last parcels of its size in the Northeast into an industrial hub with rail, port and road access," Poloncarz said. "The site has already attracted national and international attention and will certainly draw more notice from businesses as the revitalization continues.
"I want to thank the REDC for recognizing the good work we are doing here and for their support of it. The redevelopment of the Bethlehem site will bring hundreds of acres of land into productive use, strengthen our economy and build on our industrial past."
The grant funding will be paired with county funding already in place to purchase 88 acres of land at the site. When these parcels are secured, work will continue on the reconfiguration of the site, with roads and other infrastructure improvements that will open up the site to business traffic and provide the impetus for further business investment.
"This multimillion-dollar state funding announcement from the Regional Economic Development Council shows that, for the first time in decades, Western New Yorkers will finally see a transformative approach to the former Bethlehem Steel site," Kennedy said. "The site was once humming with jobs and economic activity, and now, with this substantial investment, we're slowly but surely working our way towards seeing that potential again. I'm excited to see the opportunities that this initiative will open up for the working men and women of Lackawanna, and I commend New York state and Gov. Cuomo for recognizing the importance and impact this will have."
Ryan said, "What remains of Lackawanna's past can be transformed into new opportunities for Lackawanna's future. This critical funding from the state will help to prepare Lackawanna for new business opportunities and new manufacturing jobs that will be essential for economic development efforts in the city. I thank Gov. Cuomo and the REDC for making this a priority project, and for believing in the future of Lackawanna."