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Western New York REDC awarded $66 million for 118 projects

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Thu, Dec 20th 2018 12:25 pm

Projects that will move forward as a result of round VIII of the Regional Council include Artpark master plan, St. Mary’s Block stabilization in Niagara Falls

A full list of the 2018 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov

As part of round VIII of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) was awarded $66 million for 118 projects that build on the region’s assets and invest in the future. The announcement, which supports projects in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, was made Tuesday in Albany. In the first eight rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Western New York region has been awarded $553.2 million in state support for 781 projects across the region.

Established in 2011 as a centerpiece of the governor’s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils replaced the state’s top-down approach to economic development with one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers communities, 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 to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.

“Each year I am amazed by the dedication of our WNYREDC members, community leaders and project principles as they advance our locally developed economic development strategies,” said Jeff Belt, CEO of SolEpoxy and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. “Their work and Gov. Cuomo’s commitment to Western New York are advancing our core strategies and realizing the region’s turnaround.”

“On behalf of the Western New York REDC, I am proud to be taking home $66 million for the region to drive the progress we are seeing and feeling in our communities,” said Virginia Horvath, president of SUNY Fredonia and Western New Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. “The projects that this funding will advance will propel foundational change in our region and focus on the core strategies that will ensure our economy continues a steady growth trajectory.”

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 projects awarded funding in round VIII:

Erie County

•$2,000,000 to Rosina Food Product Inc. for its protein operation expansion. The $32 million project includes building a new, 120,000-square-foot plant and production line for manufacturing a variety of meat product – doubling the company’s current production capacity and relocating production from out-of-state to the new facility in West Seneca. This is the first phase of a potentially multiphased master plan to retain Rosina Food in Western New York.

•$1,500,000 to Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens to demolish several outdated buildings, which will provide space for an addition that will include a butterfly conservatory, educational classrooms, expanded grow houses, event space, a variety of unique exhibits, a café, and expanded visitor and admissions areas. The Botanical Gardens also plans to grow its offerings in the newly constructed facility.

•$1,200,000 million to Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute for the Center for Therapeutic Interactions, which will allow for the creation and operation of a new facility and research center around Cryo-Electron Microscopy technology (Cryo-EM), which will accelerate drug discovery and treatment of disease. The $4.3 million project includes interior demolition and construction of the research suite that conforms to specific equipment specifications. Upon completion, the center will be a magnet for biomedical R&D companies to establish regional research hubs near the Cryo-EM facilities, with associated job creation at multiple levels.

•$1,161,225 to Town of Evans for Sturgeon Point Marina Repairs. The Town of Evans will implement its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program by designing and constructing repairs to the western breakwater, which protects the Sturgeon Point Marina. The walkway atop the breakwall will also be repaired to reestablish safe public access. This project will guarantee the safe operation of this popular recreational resource, which provides boat dockage and public access to the waters and fisheries in Lake Erie and opens the door for future marina expansion.

•$1,000,000 to Shea’s O’Connell Preservation Guild to install a multistory elevator tower that provides greater accessibility to those with disabilities and mobility issues, while increasing capacity for more restrooms, concessions and storage, plus additional basement and top-level space for storage and offices.

Niagara County

•$2,233,395 to City of Niagara Falls for St. Mary’s block stabilization. The City of Niagara Falls will make streetscaping improvements/blight removal on 6th and 7th streets between Walnut Avenue and Niagara Street to support the development of the former St. Mary’s Hospital at 515 6th St.

•$273,000 to Aquarium of Niagara for construction of three new interactive touch pools at the main entrance. Guests will begin their immersive experience by dipping their hands into tropical pools to discover the unique texture and movement of stingrays, sharks and marine invertebrates.

•$100,000 to Town of Lewiston for Artpark feasibility study. Artpark & Company has embarked on a journey to create a new master plan and significantly improve its facilities and broaden market appeal to ensure future viability. The plan will serve as the design of physical layout at the largest scale for Artpark’s forthcoming development, including a plan for its timing and phasing.

•$125,000 to Lockport Locks Heritage District Corp. for lock tender tribute. The project seeks to honor an iconic 19th-century photograph of lock tenders on the steps of the old Flight of Five locks in Lockport, by creating 14 life-sized bronze sculptures of those same lock tenders. They will be placed on the steps of the Flight of Five, which is undergoing restoration and rehabilitation efforts in the city.

A full list of the 2018 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

This spring, Cuomo launched round VIII of the REDC. During this round, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), which is composed of state agency commissioners and members of the New York State Legislature, traveled to Rome, Rochester and White Plains to receive presentations on this year’s proposals from each of the 10 Regional Councils directly and assessed the implementation of the regions’ strategic plans.

In 2018, all 10 REDCs competed for designation as a “Top Performer.” Five Top Performers will receive up to $20 million in additional Empire State Development grant funding to support priority projects, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region is eligible for up to $75 million in additional Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.

Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, more than $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs statewide.

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

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

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