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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council supports new funding programs

by jmaloni


Mon, Sep 22nd 2014 04:10 pm

Funding for downtown revitalization in rural areas and agriculture projects now available

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council met today and heard presentations regarding two new programs: the Western Region Corporation Downtown Revitalization Program and WNYREDC Agriculture Development Fund. Both are now accepting applications.

The Downtown Revitalization Program is a funding program that provides low-interest, gap-financing loans to eligible project sponsors to facilitate the redevelopment and improvement of commercial buildings and the development of new downtown commercial buildings in small cities and villages in rural areas. The WNYREDC Agriculture Development Fund will help agriculture producers make farm equipment purchases and construct or renovate agricultural structures.

"Smart growth and agriculture are two of our region's top priorities, which is why it is paramount to provide resources to build on these strengths," said Satish Tripathi, WNYREDC co-chair and University at Buffalo president. "Strategic investments in these industries will improve the economic health of our region and enable growth in jobs, wages and firms."

"New York state has many tools to foster economic development, and the WNYREDC just added two more," said Howard Zemsky, WNYREDC co-chair and Larkin Development Group managing partner. "Agriculture is a key component of our economy, and the Agriculture Development Fund will enable growers and producers to expand capacity and produce more value added products. The Downtown Revitalization Program will encourage smart growth development in our region's villages and town centers. I encourage eligible entities to apply for funding."

The WNYREDC awarded Western Region Corporation $2 million to establish the WRC Downtown Revitalization Program. The WNYREDC awarded Farm Credit East $1 million to establish the WNYREDC Agriculture Development Fund. Both funding programs are eligible to entities within WNYREDC's five-county region, which is composed of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

WRC Downtown Revitalization Program

The WRC Downtown Revitalization Program fund is intended to offset the high construction costs involved with the development and/or redevelopment of downtown commercial center buildings, which might create funding gaps or otherwise prevent projects that are essential to revitalizing downtowns from advancing. The program, which is focused on small cities and village centers in rural areas, encourages projects that utilize a collaborative approach that has resulted in a strategic plan to provide improved and diverse downtowns, housing options, commercial/retail/service business activity, public amenities and public spaces.

Loans will range from $100,000 to $500,000 and must not constitute more than 50 percent of the total project cost. Eligible loan applicants include cities, villages, nonprofit corporations, IDA's, for-profit entities and other appropriate local development entities. The loans can be used for new construction, building and property acquisition, on-site infrastructure and site preparation needs, reasonable soft costs and demolition.

For more information on the WRC Downtown Revitalization Program, contact Richard Zink at 716-945-5301, ext. 2201, or [email protected].

WNYREDC Agriculture Development Fund

Farmers in Western New York can now apply for grants to make processing equipment purchases and construct or renovate agricultural structures. The grants, generally not to exceed $50,000 per application, are available to agricultural producers with commercial farms. Eligible applicants should be able to retain and expand agricultural activity, be engaged in a value-added or direct-to-market activity that increases access to locally grown products, creates jobs and strengthens economic development in rural communities.

Generally, up to $50,000 may be awarded per application, which is expected to leverage matching loan funding through Farm Credit East or other financing sources. Examples of eligible projects include a small cheese production on a dairy farm or a new vegetable cooler on a vegetable farm. The rolling grants, with no specific deadline as of now, are based on eligibility and awarded competitively. Multiple farms may apply on one application with their aggregate application generally not to exceed $50,000 per farm.

For an application, contact Nathan Rudgers, Farm Credit East's director of business development, at 800-929-1350 (office), 585-993-0395 (mobile) or [email protected].

For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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