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Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Requests Public Input For Progress Report

(August 29, 2012)

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Requests Public Input For Progress Report

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council today released its draft progress report for public review, along with its draft list of priority projects for 2012. The public can view the draft progress report at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/finger-lakes and has until September 4 to submit its input via the comment tab on the council website. The final report for the nine-county region, composed of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, will be voted on by the council at its September 5 meeting, and then submitted to the State on September 14.

“Our goal for 2012 has been to strengthen our strategic plan, accelerate our progress and position the Finger Lakes for continued growth,” said Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council co-chair and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. “We encourage the public to review our draft progress report. It is only through a shared economic development vision that our region will continue to evolve into an increasingly successful and diverse knowledge-based economy.”

“We have focused and prioritized our efforts, developing a strong framework to help us more effectively grow jobs, develop economically and achieve an ever better quality of life,” said Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council co-chair and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman. “We have done this by working together as a region, making connections and sharing ideas. I’m excited about our prospects for the future.”

The Finger Lakes region’s 2011 strategic plan, “Accelerating Our Transformation,” leverages the region’s strategic advantages in academic research, workforce talent and high quality of life to position the area as a national leader and innovator in a diverse array of next generation technologies. The plan focuses on strategies that optimize business creation, retention and expansion; strengthens academic and industry partnerships; aligns workforce development efforts with the needs of key industry sectors; and invests in community and industrial development and infrastructure. The region was awarded $68.8 million in December 2011 based on the plan.

In 2012, through work on the plan by the regional council members, extensive public outreach across the region and the coordination of work groups, the council has connected the overall vision, sector strategies and performance measures from the 2011 plan into a seamless plan that makes it easy to understand its priorities, act upon them and regularly evaluate them.

The council is also recommending that the state continue to invest in several key multi-year projects indentified in its 2011 strategic plan, with the maintenance of Eastman Business Park its continued top priority. The council identified new priority projects to help maximize its growth potential and successfully implement its strategic plan for the region. The plan’s priority projects were chosen, in part, because they leverage significant private investment and address critical economic development needs throughout the nine-county region.

Pending final approval at its September 5 meeting, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council recommends the following priority projects for 2012:

  • Efforts to preserve and strengthen Eastman Business Park remain the region’s top priority. The Park is one of the nation’s premier industrial development sites and possesses a unique set of assets that make it highly attractive to high tech and manufacturing companies. The Council will continue to work with New York State to resolve issues related to its redevelopment and help the Park meet its goal of creating 1,500 jobs over the next five years.
  • The Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation – a partnership between the University of Rochester and IBM – will make the region a leading center for high performance computing, strengthen R&D, and accelerate growth in the region’s life sciences sector. The project will create an estimated 900 jobs over the next five years.
  • The Golisano Institute for Sustainability will make RIT an international leader in programs that embody the principles of sustainability in product development. The Institute will create an estimated 1,075 direct jobs and catalyze the creation and expansion of related firms in the region that could produce thousands of additional jobs over the next five years.
  • The Pathstone Finger Lakes Enterprise Fund will provide essential credit to microenterprise and small businesses, particularly in underserved rural and urban communities, accelerating economic growth and community development. The fund will create and retain an estimated 300 jobs over the next five years.
  • The adaptive reuse of the Midtown Tower into mixed commercial, office, and residential space is one of the cornerstones of the City of Rochester’s Midtown Redevelopment project which will revitalize the city center. The project will help create and retain 345 jobs and 200 construction jobs.
  • The College Town project is a comprehensive plan to redevelop 16 acres in the City of Rochester into a vibrant neighborhood consisting of mixed-use development that will serve as a gateway to the City and the University of Rochester. The project is the culmination of years of community planning and is expected to create 900 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs.
  • The Multiple Pathways to Middle Skills Jobs project represents an innovative approach to workforce development. The project will work in close coordination with a network of private, not-for-profit, and public sector organizations to provide hands-on training to K-12 students and displaced workers. By year five, the project will provide training in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and skilled trades to an estimated 5,200 individuals per year.
  • The Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative will create an interconnected network of business support services and incubation facilities that spans all nine counties of the region. The initiative will support the creation and growth of early-stage companies, creating more than 1,000 jobs over the next five year.
  • The Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park project will position the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions as a hub for the state’s next generation of advanced nano-scale manufacturing companies. The project will create an estimated 1,400 construction and 1,500 direct jobs by year five, with potentially thousands more once the site is fully developed.
  • The Seneca AgBio Green Energy Park will create a cluster of companies that convert agricultural byproducts and waste into biofuels and biomaterials and accelerate the redevelopment of the former Army depot in Seneca County. The project will create 60 new jobs in this rural community.
  • The Finger Lakes Clinical Quality Improvement Initiative will build upon the region’s history of collaboration to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality by creating an innovative electronic tool that helps healthcare providers identify best practices and eliminate variations in care that inflate costs.
  • The Finger Lakes Small Business Expansion Fund will enable expansion and sales growth in six food processing, optics/photonics/imaging, advanced manufacturing, and energy companies located across the region. These companies will collectively create or retain 306 jobs.

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit www.thenewny.com.

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