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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Releases Draft Plan for Upstate Revitalization Initiative

Public comment period includes review of draft 2015 Progress Report and public naming contest for the URI plan; plan includes specific emphasis on poverty reduction in the region
(August 19, 2015)

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Releases Draft Plan for Upstate Revitalization Initiative

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) today released its draft Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) plan and draft 2015 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Progress Report, opening an extended public review period allowing more than a month to consider comments and ideas that will help make this year’s competitive submissions as strong as possible.

The draft FLREDC URI plan is the result of a comprehensive regional analysis and focuses on three “pillars” – the key industry clusters that build on their significant strength in the region and will drive economic growth with future investment:

  • Optics, Photonics & Imaging;
  • Agriculture & Food Production; and
  • Next-Generation Manufacturing & Technology at strategic hub locations, including Eastman Business Park, WNY STAMP, and the new Rochester Downtown Innovation Zone.

Furthermore, the draft plan focuses on three “enablers” – areas that will facilitate growth in the key pillars:

  • “Pathways to Prosperity”- which supports multiple workforce development efforts aimed at reducing poverty by employing hard-to-place workers;
  • Entrepreneurship & Development; and;
  • Higher Education & Research.

As required in the URI, the draft plan focuses on significantly increasing the number of permanent private sector jobs that pay above average wages for the region, resulting in a widespread increase in wealth for residents. Implementation of the plan will include extensive private sector investment in the region, representing an overall ratio of at least 5-to-1 private to public investment. In alignment with the ongoing efforts of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, the draft plan includes an additional goal of reducing poverty.

With the once-in-a-generation opportunity afforded by the URI competition, the FLREDC is expanding its commitment to public engagement to build a consensus for the region’s proposal and is providing a prolonged period of public review and opportunities:

The draft FLREDC URI plan and draft 2015 Progress Report can be viewed on the FLREDC website:

Comments can be submitted on the URI plan via a special web form and will be considered until September 18th:

Comments can be submitted on the draft 2015 Progress Report via email to and will be considered until September 4th.

The FLREDC will be hosting multiple public meetings and an additional public forum to directly receive input on the plans during the next month and a half.

In addition, the FLREDC is having a public contest to help determine the best name for the URI plan where anyone can vote on three potential names or offer an additional name to be considered by the Council at:

"Governor Cuomo has set the bar high for regions competing for an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate their rate of economic development,” said FLREDC Co-Chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman. “We are using this competition to chart a prosperous future for the Fingers Lakes Region. The strategic framework created by the Council, combined with vigorous input from the public, has resulted in the creation of a plan that builds on the existing momentum and renews the optimism for our economic future.”

As in prior years, the FLREDC will soon submit a Progress Report to compete for a portion of the up to $750 million made available in this year’s REDC competition. This fall, the region will also submit an updated regional strategic plan to compete for one of three $500 million URI awards. Governor Cuomo’s $1.5 billion URI competition is part of an overall program aimed at systematically revitalizing the economy of Upstate New York.

The Governor has directed that three Upstate winners of the URI will receive approximately $130 million each this year ($100 million in URI funding, and an estimated $30 million from Round V of the REDC competition). Aside from those regions, three regions will earn “Top Performer” distinction in the REDC competition and will receive approximately $105 million each. Finally, the remaining four regions will receive approximately $90 million each through the REDC competition – which is more than the average amount awarded to the top place finisher in prior years.

The URI process coincides with the fifth year of the Regional Economic Development Council program. The FLREDC is working with supporting organizations and private sector investors to implement its five year strategic plan that is designed to meet the needs of the region by maximizing job creation and economic growth by utilizing a community-based, bottom-up approach.

The final Progress Report and URI plan for the nine-county region, composed of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, will be voted on by the FLREDC during multiple public meetings in September, in advance of the upcoming deadlines for submission.

To learn more about the FLREDC, visit

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