Projects that will move forward as a result of Round IX of Regional Council initiative include Centennial Park green infrastructure in Buffalo, Olean Community Theatre development project, a bike path extension in City of North Tonawanda, National Comedy Center marketing campaign in Jamestown & Greenpac Mills capital projects in Niagara County
A full list of the 2019 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov
As part of round IX of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) was awarded $67.3 million for 109 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 Thursday in Albany. The Western New York region has now been awarded $620.5 million cumulatively through nine rounds of the Regional Council initiative, in state support for 890 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.
“On behalf of the WNYREDC, I am proud to be taking home $67.3 million for Western New York to advance our locally developed economic development strategies,” said WNYREDC Co-Chair and Buffalo State College President Katherine Conway-Turner. “Gov. Cuomo’s bottom-up approach to investing state resources is working – you can see and feel it across our communities. I continue to be amazed by the dedication of our WNYREDC members, community leaders and project partners as we work together to build our region’s economic momentum.”
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 projects awarded funding in round IX:
•$5,000,000 to the Town of Cheektowaga to reduce sanitary sewer overflows by slip lining sewers and reducing inflow and infiltration. The project will help improve water quality in the Buffalo River.
•$2,500,000 to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to aid in the transformation of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park, an aging park on the shore of Lake Erie in the City of Buffalo, through natural shoreline restoration, wetlands and bioretention areas.
•$1,000,000 to Kleinhans Music Hall management to embark on necessary repairs and upgrades to the building mechanicals and structure in order to ensure its ability to operate as a world-class venue for the foreseeable future.
•$714,000 to Steuben Foods in Elma to expand its advanced food and beverage manufacturing facility by acquiring additional equipment to keep up with growing demand from its customers.
•$2,650,000 to Cascades Greenpac Mill to complete a series of capital projects and operations and maintenance adjustments to save energy and reduce their carbon emissions.
•$1,500,000 to the City of Lockport to install green infrastructure improvements on multiple streets in their downtown, complementing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects and further aiding in the revitalization of the area.
•$372,125 to the City of North Tonawanda to design and construct a two-mile extension to the Erie Canal bike path connecting Mayor’s Park to the Botanical Garden’s Park. The project will improve public access to waterfront parklands and the Erie Canal.
A full list of the 2019 REDC awards is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
This spring, Cuomo launched round IX of the REDC. During round IX, the strategic implementation assessment team (SIAT), which is composed of state agency commissioners and members of the New York State Legislature, heard proposals from each of the ten Regional Councils directly and assessed the implementation of the regions’ strategic plans.
In 2019, up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits was available for projects identified by the Regional Councils as priorities in their regions. All 10 regions competed this year for designation as a top performer. Five top performing regions were awarded a share of $100 million in ESD capital grants. The remaining five regions were awarded a share of $50 million in ESD capital grants. Each region was also awarded a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.
In addition, each region once again received $10 million to implement projects identified through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and projects from all 10 regions submitted through the CFA were eligible for over $525 million in other state agency funds.
Since its inception in 2011, over $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs statewide through the REDC process.
To learn more about the WNYREDC, visit https://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/western-new-york.