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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council submits 2017 progress report


Thu, Oct 12th 2017 11:00 am
NYS SIAT meets with WNYREDC, tours several priority projects in region
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council on Wednesday announced it has submitted its 2017 progress report - titled "A Strategy for Prosperity" - to New York state. The progress report details the council's achievements in implementing its strategic plan, reflects Western New York's progress on efforts to ensure sustainable and long-term growth in the five county region, and to leverage the region's advantages in key industry sectors, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, binational logistics, energy, health and life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism.
In furtherance of these goals, strategies and initiatives, the report recommends 25 priority projects to advance the region's growth objectives. These projects, from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, represent a total proposed state investment of at least $20 million, leveraging $75 million in private and other funding for total project expenses of more than $95 million. Collectively, these priority projects would support the creation of 195 new jobs, 748 indirect jobs, the retention of 290 existing jobs, and leverage a return on investment of 5 to 1.
Detailed information about the WNYREDC's 2017 endorsed priority projects is available in the progress report at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.
The report also outlines the region's strong performance record in implementing its strategies and projects since 2011, the first round of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The first six rounds resulted in 497 projects moving forward in Western New York, 84 percent of which are completed or on schedule. In total, $418.4 million in state funding has been awarded to Western New York through the REDC process.
"The results for our economy are phenomenal," said Jeff Belt, WNYREDC co-chair and SolEpoxy CEO. "REDC strategies that focus investments on people and placemaking are driving a regionwide turnaround that attracts national attention. The proof is in our cities and villages, and it's reflected in our 2017 progress report. This year, we prioritized projects to prepare our workforce, foster a culture of entrepreneurship, and implement smart growth throughout our region. These strategies provide the framework that allows public, private and foundation investments to work together for cumulative impact."
"Through the stops on today's tour, the WNYREDC was able to showcase the priority projects that fit well into the council's core strategies," said WNYREDC Co-Chair and President of the State University of New York at Fredonia Dr. Virginia Horvath. "Our progress report demonstrates how we are moving forward and how we will continue to do so on our path to prosperity. The collective support of the state and the region as a whole over the last seven years has been the key factor in making sure Western New York has a bright future."
The New York State Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT) met with the WNYREDC in Buffalo and toured several priority projects to see first-hand the progress the council has made by implementing its core strategies in these projects. The visit begins the SIAT team's review of all 10 REDC's regional economic development plans, progress reports, job creation and community development projects.
Round VII of the REDC initiative will award more than $800 million in state resources across all 10 regions, including up to $225 million in performance-based grants and tax credits from Empire State Development, and approximately $575 million from two-dozen agency programs.
Regional Council priorities in 2017 include:
  • Identifying projects for the state's burgeoning life sciences cluster;
  • Identifying workforce development strategies, including collaboration with industry and educational institutions;
  • Implementing strategies through the project pipeline; and
  • Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan.
To encourage the implementation of the REDC' strategic plans and to continue to motivate investment opportunities and job creation, the regional councils will compete in 2017 for up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects identified by the regional councils as priorities in their regions.
By incentivizing the implementation of the strategic plans, regional councils, businesses, educational institutions, local governments, not-for-profit groups and other stakeholders are further motivated to work together to accomplish the regional vision. While project funding will be awarded to all 10 regional councils through the 2017 CFA, the competition places emphasis on regional council performance and action to implement strategies. Organizers said encouraging genuine cooperation among the REDCs and representatives of the community is critical to achieving economic development success.
Round VII Awards
In 2017, all 10 regions will compete for designation as a "Top Performer," of which five will be selected and receive awards of up to $20 million in grant funds, while the remaining five regions, identified as regional awardees, will receive up to $10 million in grant funds.
As part of Cuomo's efforts to improve the state's economic development model, a state consolidated funding application was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier and more productive. To access the CFA, visit https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/.
After five rounds of the REDC process, nearly $4 billion has been awarded to more than 4,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each regions strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 200,000 jobs. For more information on the regional councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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