Finger Lakes Regional Coalition Receives $900,000 for Cleaner, Greener Communities Regional Sustainability Planning
A coalition of Finger Lakes counties, towns and economic development organizations has received $900,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a comprehensive smart growth plan for regional sustainability. This plan is part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major environmental initiative announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last year.
This coalition, comprised of the counties of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates; the City of Rochester; the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council the Genesee Transportation Council and Rochester Institute of Technology will develop a smart growth plan that encompasses the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) area. Monroe County will lead the planning process for the region.
“The Cleaner, Green Communities program will inspire sustainable communities in the Finger Lakes Region,” said Joel Seligman, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of University of Rochester. “Our strategic plan cites the need to build upon the region’s strengths to accelerate our transformation and this initiative will identify actions that are critical to accomplishing our vision, such as growing our green jobs in the manufacturing and high-tech sectors to alleviate economic and environmental challenges.”
“I congratulate Governor Cuomo and the coalition of Finger Lakes counties, towns and economic development organizations that are partnering to encourage a sustainable economic and eco-friendly future,” said Danny Wegman, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and CEO of Wegmans Food Markets. “The Cleaner, Greener Communities program will help New Yorkers get back to work while improving the environment as well.”
“The Cleaner, Greener Communities program is an exceptional way for communities across the Finger Lakes Region to develop strong, collaborative solutions for sustainability,” said County Executive Brooks. “Monroe County is proud to partner with NYSERDA as we form a state-of-the-art plan to protect the environment while fostering future economic growth and job creation.”
The development of a comprehensive regional sustainability plan is the first phase of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program and is intended to provide resources that each New York State region can use to develop its own vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future. Plans will include the identification of actions needed to achieve that future and the outlining of metrics to measure success. Only one award was made in each region of the state.
“This funding is an excellent opportunity for the Finger Lakes Region to develop a plan that improves environmental quality by reducing air, water and land pollution and improves quality of life through smart growth and sustainable development,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, all New Yorkers will benefit, as the regional plans will examine each region’s available resources and provide a specific vision to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
“This award by Governor Cuomo will enable the Finger Lakes Region to fully utilize its high level of technical expertise in sustainability and strong relationships among private, public, and academic stakeholders,” said Richard Perrin, Executive Director of the Genesee Transportation Council. “Identifying opportunities to improve the economy and protect the environment in an equitable manner will ensure that our region continues to increase its standing as a world-class community.”
“Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT is delighted to participate in this important coalition,” said Nabil Nasr, Ph.D., Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Finger Lakes region to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan and growth strategy to enhance the quality of life and improve the competitiveness of our region.”
“We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to plan and implement for our region’s future,” said David Zorn, Executive Director of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council.
“Protecting the environment and growing the local economy are compatible goals that will benefit from the regional synergies that are sure to arise from the award of this grant,” said Rochester Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “Governor Cuomo is to be commended for his forward thinking on this critical issue. The Fingers Lakes region stands ready to help his administration give environmental sustainability the role it deserves in moving New York’s economy forward.”
The enactment of a regional sustainability plan for the Finger Lakes Region will allow for additional funding, on a competitive basis, to implement projects that support the Cleaner, Greener Communities program. Projects must create opportunities for achieving carbon reductions, energy efficiency savings and/or renewable energy deployment while enhancing job creation, economic investment and development, consistent with the region’s sustainability and REDC strategic plan.