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Western New York REDC awarded $62 million for 105 projects, including $400K for Aquarium of Niagara

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Fri, Dec 9th 2016 04:35 pm

A full list of the 2016 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov 

As part of Round VI of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council was awarded $62 million for 105 projects that build on the region's assets to invest in the future.

The announcement, which supports projects in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, was made Thursday in Albany.

In the first six rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Western New York region has been awarded $418.4 million in state support for 551 projects across the region.

"With this new funding, we will be able to bring even more projects that align with our economic strategy to fruition," said Jeff Belt, CEO of SolEpoxy and WNYREDC co-chair. "This year we have prioritized projects to train our workforce, foster a culture of entrepreneurship, and realize smart growth in our cities and villages. These strategies provide the unifying framework that is enabling public, private and foundation investments to work together for the good of the region. I couldn't be more proud of my partners on the WNYREDC and our region's many project leaders who are implementing our strategy and accelerating our turnaround."

"The REDC funding awarded today is an investment to help our communities continue the transformative momentum spreading across Western New York," said Satish K. Tripathi, president of the University at Buffalo and WNYREDC co-chair. "With the support of the state and our entire region over the last six years, this collective support, along with our 'Buffalo Billion' investments, has and will be instrumental in ensuring that Western New York a very bright future."

The Western New York region's 2011 strategic plan, "A Strategy for Prosperity," leverages the region's strategic advantages in key industry sectors, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, binational logistics, energy, health and life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism. The plan focuses on economic enablers that promote smart growth, prepare the workforce and foster a culture of entrepreneurship.

The following Western New York projects are highlights of priority projects awarded funding in Round VI: 

Erie County

•$600,000 to City of Buffalo for the Allen Street Streetscape Project. The City of Buffalo will construct a pedestrian and bicycle path connecting Washington and Oak streets on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and Allen Street streetscape improvements such as sidewalk repairs, installation of traffic signals, LED lights and signage and landscaping (including trees and street furniture) resulting in increased patronage of area businesses, restaurants and cultural attractions; small business development; and the creation of a better-connected and more pedestrian friendly community.

•$450,000 to Michigan Broadway LLC for the Broadway-Michigan Mixed-Use Redevelopment Project. The project restores four buildings and includes in-fill development resulting in commercial and cultural space, and a restaurant and offices. This building restoration project is located in the Michigan Street African American Corridor, a focal point for residents and visitors interested in learning about Buffalo's rich history through its shops, restaurants, historical markers, unique architecture and people.

•$400,000 to The Jacobs Institute for economic development using medical device innovation. The project will strengthen the health and life sciences industry in WNY by creating a medical device innovation hub that will spur new approaches to vascular disease prevention and treatment while attracting significant outside investment from large medical device companies, providing entrepreneurial opportunities for inventors and startups, and creating meaningful jobs vital to keeping talented young people in this region.

Niagara County

•$400,000 to Aquarium of Niagara for its renovation project. The Aquarium of Niagara will construct a new penguin exhibit for its colony of Humboldt penguins, one of the Aquarium of Niagara's premier attractions. The new Humboldt Penguin Exhibit will attract additional visitors of all ages to the facility and Niagara Falls with new programming and interactive features, while also supporting the aquarium's application for accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

•$300,000 to Greater Lockport Development Corp. for the Harrison Place Business Incubator. Funds will be used for improvements to the office space and new business services for the tenants of the Harrison Place Business Incubator, a former manufacturing complex converted into an incubator for entrepreneurs and small- to mid-sized companies in downtown Lockport.

A full list of the 2016 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

The REDC process has transformed government's approach to economic development in New York, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up, regional economic growth, and streamlining the state funding application process. Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, over $4.6 billion has been awarded to more than 5,200 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 210,000 jobs statewide.

During Round VI, members from the 10 regional councils traveled to Albany to make in-person presentations of their proposals to the strategic implementation assessment team. Over the course of two days, the SIAT, which is composed of state agency commissioners and policy experts, heard from each of the regional councils directly, reviewed the progress being made on projects that have previously received state funding, and assessed the regions' strategic plan implementations and proposals for funding in 2016.

Regional council priorities in 2016 include:

  • Support the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Plan, and begin to identify priority projects in the defined community;
  • Implementing strategies through the project pipeline;
  • Training the workforce for today and tomorrow; and
  • Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.

To learn more about the WNYREDC, visit http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of Cuomo's approach to state investment and economic development. In 2011, 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 nongovernmental organizations.

After six rounds of the REDC process, more than $4.6 billion has been awarded to more than 5,200 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plan, projecting to create and retain more than 210,000 jobs.

For more information on the regional councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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