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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Holds Public Meeting in Rochester and Reviews New Initiatives

(February 05, 2015)

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Holds Public Meeting in Rochester and Reviews New Initiatives

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) held a public meeting on Thursday in Rochester. The meeting, attended by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Empire State Development Upstate Revitalization Director Richard Tobe and local elected leaders, updated the council on new initiatives proposed in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 New York State Opportunity Agenda, including the Upstate Revitalization Fund competition and the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force.

“Governor Cuomo’s bold Opportunity Agenda not only builds on the success of his Regional Council initiative, but it continues to increase opportunity for all New Yorkers and introduces new initiatives to keep the State moving forward,” said Joel Seligman and Danny Wegman, Co-Chairs of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. “Our council remains engaged and motivated as we begin work on our submission to the Upstate Revitalization Fund Competition and contribute to the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force, both which will advance community development and job creation in the Finger Lakes region.”

Lieutenant Governor Hochul gave an overview of the Governor’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda, which he presented on January 21 in Albany, to the FLREDC members. The Opportunity Agenda is designed to restore economic opportunity, improve and reform our education system, and restore the public’s confidence and trust in our justice system. It also continues the progress of the Regional Economic Development Councils. The Governor proposes to continue this initiative with a fifth round of the REDC awards, allocating $150 million to fund regional priority projects and $70 million in State tax credits throughout the state. The Governor’s full 2015 Opportunity Agenda policy book is available here.

Tobe gave an overview of the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Fund competition, which will replicate the successful Buffalo Billion initiative to help further Upstate New York’s economic recovery. Seven regions are eligible to compete for one of three $500 million upstate revitalization funds: Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. Projects exhibiting region-wide impact will be made a priority and should focus on strengthening critical infrastructure, revitalizing communities, bolstering workforce development, growing tourism and improving quality of life. More information is available here.

The council was also given an overview of the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force by United Way of Rochester’s Peter Carpino, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. Building on the Governor’s 10 point Anti-Poverty Opportunity Agenda and understanding the unique set of needs in Rochester, the Governor is creating the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force. This group will consist of 20 state agencies working together with local government, business and not for profit leaders as well as with individuals trying to pull themselves and their families out of poverty. The Task Force is joining the work already started by the Rochester Anti-Poverty Initiative, a group of more than 60 agencies and stakeholders led by the United Way of Rochester, Assembly Majority Leader Morelle, Mayor Warren and County Executive Brooks. They have convened for the last several months, and the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force will have an initial meeting with this group in the coming weeks to tackle the roots of poverty in Rochester.

Chaired by Fran Barrett, Governor Cuomo’s Interagency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services, the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force will comprise: the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets, Economic Development (Empire State Development), Health, Labor, and State; the New York State Offices for the Aging, Alcoholism and Substances Abuse Services, Children and Family Services, Mental Health, People with Developmental Disabilities, Prevention of Domestic Violence, and Temporary and Disability Assistance; New York State Divisions of Homes & Community Renewal and Veterans Affairs; as well as the New York State Council on the Arts, Council on Children and Families, Commission on National and Community Service, the Nonprofit Coordination Unit, and the Community Opportunity Reinvestment project team. Additional information about the Task Force is available here.

The FLREDC, which is composed of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York State that serve as a single point of contact for economic activity in the various regions. The FLREDC was named a “Top Performer” and awarded $80.7 million supporting 100 projects in 2014, including projects that continue investment in Eastman Business Park, foster innovation and technology commercialization, strengthen communities and key industrial sites, improve the quality of life of the region’s residents, attract more visitors, address key infrastructure barriers to growth and enhance workforce development, among other initiatives. In the first four rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Finger Lakes region was awarded $305.7 million in state support for 366 projects across the region. To learn more about the FLREDC, visit http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/finger-lakes.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor 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. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After four rounds of the REDC process, nearly $3 billion has been awarded to more than 3,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 150,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit http://www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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