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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Approves Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan

“United for Success: Finger Lakes Forward” is announced as the name of the plan
(September 22, 2015)

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Approves Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) today unanimously voted to approve its Upstate Revitalization Plan for submission. “United for Success: Finger Lakes Forward” is the title of the plan, which focuses on three strategic industry sectors and three enabling factors, and identifies approximately two-dozen initiatives as example projects for possible funding – should the Finger Lakes be selected as a URI winner – to achieve the four main URI goals of job growth, increasing regional wealth, attracting private investment and reducing poverty.

“The hard work of preparing our URI plan has resulted in an even stronger partnership across the nine counties, as we diligently elevated the region’s well-focused economic strategy to new heights,” said FLREDC Co-Chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Market CEO Danny Wegman. “We thank Governor Cuomo for this opportunity and everyone who offered a wealth of valuable input throughout the process. We believe our plan will continue to accelerate the transformation of our regional economy and demonstrates that we are united for success and ready to move the Finger Lakes forward.”

The plan will now be finalized and submitted to New York State by the October 5th deadline. Click here to read the most recent public draft on the FLREDC website.

Show Your Support for the FLREDC URI Plan
The FLREDC today also launched a new #FLXFWD social media campaign to promote the plan and encourage the public to sign up in support of the draft URI plan:

URI Highlighted Initiatives
The following initiatives are included in the plan to serve as example opportunities for possible public and private investments in key strategic areas identified by the plan, but are not specific funding recommendations:

  • Optics, Photonics & Imaging – A manufacturing expansion in Rochester called Project Cataract; expansion of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester; and a new, global, annual Photonics Challenge convention and competition in Rochester.
  • Agriculture & Food Production – Support of FLX Food, an initiative focused on organics and the future of the food ecosystem; an Eco-Brewing District created by North American Breweries around their facility downtown Rochester at High Falls; and a new initiative to cultivate sustainable food production, capitalizing on expertise already at Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University.
  • Next-Generation Manufacturing & Technology – Several projects highlighted in all three key hub locations, including:
    • Eastman Business Park (EBP) – Sweetwater’s biorefinery project; improvement of technology assets at EBP specifically addressing capacity to grow companies in energy storage, materials and nanotechnology; establishment of an AIM Photonics Manufacturing Center at EBP.
    • Downtown Innovation Zone – Rochester Regional Fund to invest in key downtown assets; redevelopment of the Inner Loop, which will include 17 acres of new developable parcels.
    • Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) – Project Eagle to bring a solar manufacturing facility as the park’s first tenant; confidential nanoscale manufacturing project considering STAMP as a site.
  • Pathways to Prosperity – Monroe Community College’s Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center (FWD Center) at EBP; support for the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) based around the creation of a coordinated system for those in need; expansion of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection; and programs to help ex-offenders and the working poor receive job training and placement.
  • Entrepreneurship & Development – Creation of a Finger Lakes Venture Fund to provide critically necessary capital to startups; buildout an urban development ecosystem for business efforts in the urban core; SUNY Geneseo’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development, which will provide a new central location for expanded business services.
  • Higher Education & Research – UR’s Goergen Institute for Data Science to meet the growing need for data scientists; RIT’s Center for Advanced Technology in Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing for 3D printing commercialization and product development; UR’s Neurorestoration Institute to expand the areas preeminence in this growing field.

The 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. This approach ensures that every region benefits, while also maintaining the competitive nature that has worked so well to bring local business, academic, and community leaders together to develop long term, impressive economic visions for their regions.

Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative
The FLREDC also heard a presentation on the Rochester-Monroe Anti- Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) and voted on a resolution in support of the progress report they released last week. The report outlined key barriers facing people in Rochester living in poverty and recommendations for breaking the cycle of poverty. Work Groups in eight key focus areas developed 33 recommendations to address the barriers and three common themes to be addressed emerged throughout all the focus areas: Community Building, Structural Racism and Poverty-Induced Trauma. These common themes and additional factors resulted in three initial recommendations rising to the top:

  • Systems Design: Designing a comprehensive, integrated system of social supports, in coordination with the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge planning effort.
  • Adult Mentoring/ Navigating: Establishing an adult mentor/navigator role across the systems of support that helps working poor individuals to overcome barriers and acquire the resources, knowledge and skills necessary to attain and retain a living wage job and break the cycle of poverty.
  • Early Childhood Support: Ensuring early childhood support that provides both high-quality, affordable, accessible and flexible childcare that parents need to engage in community, economic mobility, wellness-related activities and in-home parent training proven to give new parents the skills to succeed as their children’s first teachers.

During the next phase of its work, RMAPI will work in partnership with Governor Cuomo’s Rochester Anti-poverty Task Force, the FLREDC and other community groups to begin implementation of these recommendations.

For more information about the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, or to see the full report visit

2015 Progress Report Submitted
On Monday, the FLREDC also submitted their 2015 Progress Report to New York State. The final FLREDC 2015 Progress Report can be viewed here.

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