Projects that will move forward as a result of Round VII of the Regional Council initiative include Alfred University's Southern Tier Business Center, Crawford House Hotel, Jamestown Renaissance Corp., Roswell Park Cancer Institute & North Tonawanda's Gateway Harbor Park
As part of Round VII of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) was awarded $68.8 million for 112 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 Wednesday in Albany.
In the first seven rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Western New York region has been awarded $487.2 million in state support for 663 projects across the region.
"The governor established the REDCs to advance projects that would realize our locally developed economic development strategies - which catalyzed the turnaround that we see today," said Jeff Belt, CEO of SolEpoxy and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. "This year we prioritized projects that will add job opportunities and quality-of-life by advancing our core strategies of placemaking, workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurship, while also supporting our top tradable sectors. These strategies provide the unifying framework that has enabled public, private and foundation investments to work together for the good of the region."
"Our home-grown initiatives are driving the progress that we see in our economic indicators and that we feel in our communities," said Virginia Horvath, president of SUNY Fredonia and Western New WNYREDC co-chair. "I am proud of the additional funding that we are bringing home to Western New York, but I'm even more proud of my partners on the WNYREDC and our region's many project leaders who are implementing the strategies that are accelerating our turnaround."
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 local Western New York projects are highlights of priority projects awarded funding in Round VII:
•$1,000,000 to the Center for Computation Research for an expansion of high-performance computing infrastructure. The project will provide Western New York companies across industry sectors with access to advanced computing equipment.
•$1,000,000 to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to establish a new division of integrative immuno-oncology.
•$600,000 to the African American Center of Buffalo Inc. to renovate an existing facility. The project will expand its theater, educational and programming and teaching facilities on the East Side and create an Urban Cultural Campus.
•$750,000 to Springville Center for the Arts to complete the next phase of renovations to its multi-arts center.
•$500,000 to the City of Buffalo for Seneca Street infrastructure project. A one-mile section of Seneca Street between Hamburg and Michigan streets will be revitalized through the design and construction of infrastructure and streetscape improvements.
•$1,500,000 to the City of Niagara Falls for south-end gateway district revitalization. The district is a gateway to the city's tourism district and will be revitalized through restoration and renovation of existing structures and new construction of commercial and mixed-use properties.
•$800,000 to City of North Tonawanda for Gateway Harbor Park. The city will design and construct improvements to the park along the Erie Canal to enhance public waterfront access and catalyze development in the city's adjacent downtown.
•$450,000 to City of Lockport for South Street Neighborhood Park. The city will construct a new park on the site of the former Harrison Radiator parking lot.
A centerpiece of the governor's strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were established in 2011 to replace the state's old top-down approach to economic development, with one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers community, business and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region's unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy. Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, over $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs statewide.
During Round VII, the strategic implementation assessment team (SIAT), which is composed of state agency commissioners and policy experts, traveled to each of the 10 regions to see firsthand the progress being made by REDC investments. The SIAT received presentations on this year's proposals from the Regional Councils directly and assessed the implementation of the regions' strategic plans.