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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Construction to Begin on $3.4 Million East State Street Project in Olean

(July 05, 2012)

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Construction to Begin on $3.4 Million East State Street Project in Olean

The City of Olean and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council today announced that the first stage of construction of the East State Street Reconstruction project in Olean has begun on the strength of the $1 million award it received as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative. This project will reconstruct East State Street (NY Route 417) from Front Street to King Street, and will support 67 jobs with a total project cost of $2.45 million. City of Olean Mayor Linda L. Witte welcomed state representatives to the city today for a ceremony at the construction site.

"I am proud to see Olean is front and center with a shovel in the ground today," said Mayor Witte. "East State Street, with its potholes the result of deferred maintenance and lack of funds, will once again provide smooth passage for the 13,000 vehicles that travel this road daily. It will be a stunning gateway for workers, visitors, shoppers and business owners. The neighborhood residents and commercial concerns will especially benefit from updated infrastructure. This is exactly the kind of infrastructure project that the Governor's Regional Economic Development Council called for in 2011. Additionally, I'm pleased my Engineering Department staff met the design challenge and exceeded expectations, saving the City of Olean $200,000."

"The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council views the reconstruction of East State Street as an investment strategy that not only addresses a public safety concern, but also increases capacity, spurring development in the city and bringing jobs to the neighborhood," said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. "The road is a major arterial and I am pleased that the council could partner with the City of Olean, ESD and DOT to move this project forward."

"East State Street is home to several of the city's largest companies, including locally owned Cutco Cutlery, a major employer within the community," said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair. "This project makes the road safer, as well as improves access to jobs, services and the downtown corridor."

The East State Street (NY Route 417) reconstruction will consist of a complete highway and utility remake of this important gateway corridor to downtown Olean. The project will include the replacement of water and sanitary sewer lines, a new storm sewer and gutter system, a new road bed, sidewalks and curbs. It will address severe pavement deterioration, as well as public safety concerns, and provide more infrastructure capacity to support future development and bring jobs to a distressed neighborhood. The project is a part of the East End Corridor Management Strategy, as identified in the City's 2025 Comprehensive Plan. The reconstruction will also support tourism. Since 1997, East State Street has served as NY Bicycle Route 17, a conduit for statewide touring bicyclists, and a part of a comprehensive network of signed, on-road, long distance bike routes.

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans. As part of that process, the East State Street Reconstruction project was awarded $500,000 from the New York State Department of Transportation, and an additional $500,000 from Empire State Development. The partnership between DOT and ESD to support this project will leverage an additional $1.45 million in city funds. The project will benefit the surrounding communities by creating jobs and providing a much needed economic boost to the area.

City of Olean Councilmember Ann McLaughlin, Ward 2, lauded the patience of her constituents who have waited 15 years for a resolution of the sewer and water problems.

"Since I joined the Council in 2010, we have worked extremely hard to see this project to fruition," said Councilmember McLaughlin. "With hard work, dedication and persistence, today East Olean will finally begin its transformation. We couldn't have done this without the Mayor's administration, the engineers and the city employees, as well as the support of the businesses along this corridor, and finally, the Governor's Office, Empire State Development and the Department of Transportation. The money was provided in December 2011 and six months later I am proud to say that we are here with shovels in the ground."

Groundwork for the project has begun. The construction contract was awarded to Mark Cerrone Inc. of Niagara Falls, New York.

"East State Street is a heavily traversed gateway corridor into the City of Olean and its reconstruction will drive downtown revitalization," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "It will improve the infrastructure of East State Street in a permanent manner, instead of using a band-aid approach as in the past."

"Projects such as the reconstruction of East State Street are not only critical for improving the transportation infrastructure, but are also critical to spur economic development," said NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald. "This project will create local jobs while strengthening the infrastructure to support future development and tourism, which will benefit the local economy."

Mayor Witte added, "In addition to the engineers I want to thank all of those who have been instrumental in moving this project forward thus far: the Governor's Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, Empire State Development and officials- particularly Sam Hoyt-the key sponsor, Ward 2 Alderman Ann McLaughlin, Olean's Public Works Director Tom Windus, Community Development Project Coordinator Mary George, and the Olean Common Council."

Councilmember McLaughlin added, "We are extremely confident that the investment we are making in the city's infrastructure will bring economic growth and pride to East Olean. A few months from now we will all see a different East Olean and I could not be happier for this area."

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit