Capital Region Economic Development Council Presents Progress Update to Strategic Implementation Assessment Team
The Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), including Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales; Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox; Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito; President and CEO of the Environmental Facilities Corp. Matthew J. Driscoll; Commissioner and President of the Civil Service Commission Jerry Boone; Chair of the Tourism Advisory Council Cristyne Nicholas; and President and CEO of the New York Power Authority Gil Quinones today continued visits to see firsthand the progress of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) in the Capital Region. This visit continues the SIAT team's review of the all ten Councils' strategic economic development plans, progress reports and job-creating projects.
The Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) provided a formal presentation to the SIAT outlining its progress, achievements, and endorsed priority projects for the third round of the Regional Council competition at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady. The Council's progress report and full list of endorsed priority projects can be found at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/capital-region.
“By empowering local communities to chart their own economic destiny, the Regional Economic Development Council process has fundamentally changed the way New York State invests in job creation and development,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “Across the Capital Region, new projects are creating new jobs for New Yorkers and today’s assessment tour will give state officials a firsthand view of the progress that has been made over the past two and a half years. I commend the Capital Region Economic Development Council co-chairs and the entire council’s membership for their hard work and commitment to growing the region’s economy.”
“Governor Cuomo has assembled an outstanding Capital Region team and we are pleased with the tremendous progress the Council has made toward achieving its strategic goals,” said CREDC co-chairs James Barba, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center, and Robert Jones, president of the University at Albany. “We will continue to identify the distinct advantages of our region and lead this group to fulfill our mission for a brighter, economic future for our community.”
The team toured and heard presentations on the following CREDC projects:
Proctors Theater was awarded $100,000 in Round 1 to support historic preservation and improvements to the theatre’s ceilings, walls, side boxes, and seating areas. Proctors is a performing arts center with 2,700 seats and a part of the national register as a historic theatre. It is the centerpiece of the downtown arts and entertainment district and a major cultural and economic anchor of Schenectady’s downtown redevelopment.
ALCO Mohawk River Redevelopment
The ALCO Mohawk River Redevelopment project was awarded $479,735 in Round 1 and has been designated a Round 3 priority project. This transformational project redevelops one of the oldest Brownfields in the nation, the former American Locomotive Company site, into an economically vibrant waterfront community. The project will establish a walkable, sustainable, mixed-use district including retail, residential, dining and hotel facilities. This project is expected to result in the creation of 800 permanent full and part time jobs.
Railex Multi-Modal Center
The Railex Multi-Modal Center was awarded $1 million in Round 2, and the project supports the
the expansion of Railex, a growing national transportation logistics and distribution company. Rail improvements are aligned with a newly constructed distribution center that will provide the region the opportunity to capture a larger piece of the market share for East to West coast and Southeastern U.S. distribution. This project will result in the creation of 100 jobs and ensure the retention of 335 jobs.
Albany Port District Commission’s Rensselaer Wharf Reconstruction
The Albany Port District Commission was awarded $11.4 million in Round 1. The project will replace 600 feet of deteriorated, 1920’s-era wharf with a modern, high-strength wharf on the east side of the Hudson river, doubling the capacity of the Rensselaer side of the port. In addition, the Port will purchase a mobile harbor crane to increase cargo handling capacity.
The Olana Partnership (TOP), a non-profit educational corporation working with New York State to preserve and restore Olana, was awarded $274,000 in Round 1 and $343,000 in Round 2. Designed by Hudson River School artist Frederic Church (1826-1900) as a work of 19th-century landscape gardening, the historic 250-acre landscape is equal in historic and artistic importance to Olana’s house and collections. The completed project will provide a transformational change to the Olana landscape, restoring the historic meadows and pastureland and reopening views that have been lost over the last 100 years to second- and third-growth forest.
WWARC Community Kitchen
Warren Washington & Albany Counties Chapter of NYSARC Inc. was awarded $125,000 in Round 2 for the renovation of 10,000 square feet of space and installation of machinery and equipment to establish a training and demonstration kitchen for agri-business. The Community Kitchen project will create 75 jobs over the next five years and create a partnership opportunity for local agribusiness to utilize the kitchen for processing and packaging. In addition, the project will also allow WWAARC to consolidate its food purchasing and save approximately $100,000 per year.
In the first two rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Capital Region was awarded $113 million in state support for 172 projects across the region. Of those projects, more than 90 percent are now underway as a result of funding they received.
Once completed, the projects awarded funding in the Capital Region through the 2011 and 2012 CFA process will provide a significant boost to the local economy and result in the creation or retention of nearly 12,000 jobs. The CFA awards are leveraging more than $800 million in public and private sector investment.
“The success of some fourteen hundred projects across the State clearly demonstrates that the Governor’s Regional Council initiative is working and delivering on its intentions,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “The Capital Region Economic Development Council allows those who know their regions best, including its unique assets and challenges, to weigh in on what matters most locally and back projects that will have a real impact and best spur the regional economy.”
Based upon published guidelines (available in the 2013 Guidebook), SIAT will review and assess each region’s progress as it relates to their accomplishments in the following categories:
- Keep the project pipeline flowing;
- Select “Innovation Hot Spots” to facilitate tech transfer;
- Develop an Opportunity Agenda to revitalize distressed communities and address barriers to entry into the workforce for people living in areas of concentrated poverty;
- Assure the workforce is being trained for today and tomorrow;
- Engage local government officials in reshaping the regional business climate;
- Create interregional collaborations around shared resources and opportunities;
- Advance regional Cleaner, Greener Communities sustainability plans; and
- Measure performance.
The Regional Council competition awards will be made based on the progress the Councils have made in implementing their strategies and the evolution of their strategic plans.
On September 24, 2013, each Council submitted to the State its two-year progress report, which provides detail on the Council’s achievements in implementing its five year strategic plan. The CREDC report included a description of high level changes to the Council’s structure, revisions to some of its strategies, an implementation agenda and a tracking of the advancement of priority job-creating projects awarded in 2011 and 2012. It also included a list of its 85 priority projects endorsed for Round 3.
Statewide, the first two rounds of the Regional Council initiative included $1.5 billion in investments to support more than 1,400 economic and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans that are creating or helping retain an estimated 75,000 jobs. To continue building on the success of rounds one and two, up to $760 million in state resources are available in 2013. Funding for the third round includes $220 million ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) to implement regional strategic plans and continue to advance priority job-creating projects, and up to $540 million from state agency programs through the CFA to support regionally-significant economic development projects.
This year, all ten regions will compete against each other. The competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies.
Five regions will be identified as the “Top Performer” and will receive up to $25 million each. The remaining regions will compete for the balance of $25 million. Each region will also be eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits.
Regions designated as a “top performer” will be required to demonstrate the following:
- Continued Implementation of their individual Strategic Plans;
- Performance in encouraging economic growth through job creation and investment; and
- Identification of transformative projects that encourage collaboration (e.g., leveraging computing assets to establish research partnerships, utilizing equipment and co-locations to assist manufacturers, and developing shared space for food processing).
Governor Cuomo established the Regional Councils and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to fundamentally change New York’s operating model for economic development and job creation. The Regional Councils have transformed the way the State invests in economic development, shifting from a top-down approach to a community-based, performance-driven model which empowers individual regions to develop, invest in, and advance regional solutions and job-creating projects to spur economic growth.
To learn more about each Regional Council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.