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Metro Creative Connection

Cuomo launches a new decade of Regional Economic Development Council Initiative

Tue, May 11th 2021 04:30 pm

Round XI will award more than $750 million across all 10 REDC regions to ‘Build Back Better’ in post-COVID economic recovery

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday launched round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, officially kicking off a new decade of economic development in a post-pandemic recovery. The 2021 funding round includes more than $750 million in state economic development resources.

The Consolidated Funding Application is open, enabling businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to begin applying for assistance from dozens of state programs for job-creation and community development projects.

"The COVID pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on our state, but now is our time to build back better and stronger than before and create a New York that serves our children and their children and their children," Cuomo said. "It's going to be hard – it's always hard to do what has never been done before – but after what New Yorkers have been through this part year, there is no challenge they can't meet today.

“We're announcing a new decade of the Regional Economic Development Councils so that regionals all across the state can plan their own economic rebirth and come up with their own smart and daring plans to rebuild, and New York state will fund it. We've done this before and it's worked tremendously well, but it's more important this year than ever before because the stakes are higher this year than ever before."

Over the past 10 years, the Regional Economic Development Councils have revitalized the state's economy from the ground up through a community-based and performance-driven approach to economic development. This year, New York will again leverage the expertise of the REDCs to invest $750 million in strategic, regional efforts to drive the recovery in every corner of the state.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "As we enter the 11th round of this initiative and as the state continues to move forward following the devastating effects of the pandemic, we are committed to this bottom-up approach to foster regional partnerships and make strategic investments. New York has seen tremendous growth in all 10 regions through the REDCs."

Hochul is chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. 

Round XI includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs totaling approximately $750 million. The core funding includes $225 million in grants and tax credits to fund high value regional priority projects. The budget also makes over $525 million in resources from state agencies available to support community revitalization and business growth consistent with the existing REDC plans through the CFA process.

In order to be responsive to the immediate needs of the development community – and as the state is making investments to generate economic activity – the $150 million in grant funds from Empire State Development will be made available to projects on a continuous and competitive basis this round.

Round XI Awards

The Regional Councils will identify and recommend priority projects that will be eligible for up to $150 million in capital funds on a rolling basis, meaning projects will be reviewed throughout the round. An emphasis will be placed on project readiness and alignment with each region's strategic plan. Additionally, projects within each region will also be eligible for a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region. Projects from all 10 regions submitted through the CFA will be eligible for over $525 million in other state agency funds, which are available on a set timeline. Regional Economic Development Councils will review these projects and provide scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region's goals and strategies.

The 2021 REDC guidebook and list of available resources is accessible here. The CFA – available here – is open now, and the deadline for applications is 4 p.m. Friday, July 30.

A press release stated, “The REDC process continues to improve the state's approach to economic development, creating regional strategies for bottom-up, economic growth and streamlining the state funding application process.”

To date, through the REDC competition, more than $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, which project to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs statewide.

To date, through the REDC competition:

  • Western New York REDC has been awarded $620.4 million for 890 projects;
  • Finger Lakes REDC has been awarded $721 million for 950 projects;
  • Southern Tier REDC has been awarded $702.3 million for 764 projects;
  • Central New York REDC has been awarded $789.8 million for 801 projects;
  • Mohawk Valley REDC has been awarded $697.7 million for 721 projects;
  • North Country REDC has been awarded $682.2 million for 690 projects;
  • Capital Region REDC has been awarded $673 million for 933 projects;
  • Mid-Hudson REDC has been awarded $713.6 million for 914 projects;
  • New York City REDC has been awarded $615.9 million for 819 projects; and
  • Long Island REDC has been awarded $727 million for 885 projects.

The CFA was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The 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.”

Learn more about the CFA here.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of Cuomo's approach to state investment and economic development. In 2011, Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government and non-governmental organizations. Learn more here.

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