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Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Announces $8 Million Available to Community Revitalizaton & Job-Creating Initiatives for Region

Rural Initiative Fund, Community Revitalization & Shovel Ready Programs to spur job creation
(April 18, 2012)

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Announces $8 Million Available to Community Revitalizaton & Job-Creating Initiatives for Region

The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council today announced that as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, $8 million in economic development resources have been approved by the Empire State Development (ESD) to support three regional job creating initiatives. The Rural Initiative Fund Program ($3 million), Community Revitalization Program ($2.5 million) and Shovel Ready Program ($2.5 million) will establish regional low-interest loan and grant funds to facilitate economic site development and business promotion across the Southern Tier.

"These programs are a perfect example of what can be achieved through the synergy of a community-driven and performance-based approach to economic development. Through the Governor’s Regional Council initiative, we now have the tools to build a better business environment that will create the jobs we need to drive our economy forward. Today’s announcement is the first step in advancing our vision for economic growth through innovative programs that will spur job creation and business development in our communities now and for years to come," said Tom Tranter, President & CEO of Corning Enterprises and Co-Chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.

"These programs will provide the tools that our region needs to rebuild our economy from the ground up. Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative is about each area identifying the best strategy to determine their own economic destiny, and now we have the support to put our plans into action. By aligning state resources behind locally-driven strategic planning, we can help kick-start the Southern Tier’s ability to create jobs and encourage immediate and lasting business growth," said David Skorton, President of Cornell University and Co-Chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.

Now that funding has been approved by ESD, these programs can now move forward to the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) process. After holding a public hearing and PACB approval, these programs will begin accepting applications to advance priority projects in communities throughout the Southern Tier region.

Empire State Development President, CEO, & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, the Southern Tier has a true partner in progress to advance the region’s job creation and economic development efforts. These programs will provide the Southern Tier with the tools to help revitalize their communities, bolster the farm-based economy and attract substantial private-sector investment to create jobs."

Rural Initiative Fund Program – $3,000,000
This program will establish a regional low-interest loan and grant fund to reduce financial risk and increase sustainability of agriculture and forestry ventures and to encourage investment and job creation. The project program is consistent with the Regional Plan and defined strategies based on the best use of the region’s assets, ability to capitalize on opportunities and address critical issues impeding growth and will also fulfill the regional strategy to revitalize the rural farm and forest-based economy in the Southern Tier. The program will provide gap financing for priority activities, including development and promotion of value-added agricultural products, development of new markets, renewable energy initiatives, increased land productivity, applications of new technologies, and growth in net agricultural revenue. Eligible applicants include new and existing businesses within the eight-county Southern Tier Region.

Community Revitalization Program – $2,500,000
The Community Revitalization Program will facilitate the redevelopment of downtown and community center locations to encourage investment and job creation. The Community Revitalization Program is a priority project that is consistent with the Regional Plan and will fulfill the strategy to strengthen the Southern Tier’s economic development backbone. The program will assist community neighborhood commercial center revitalization projects to improve downtowns with mixed-use residential/commercial and retail opportunities. Communities utilizing these funds will have the ability to identify their own priorities and structure projects to support unique local needs in targeted areas. Eligible applicants will include cities, towns and villages within the eight counties in the Southern Tier Region. The available resources will provide gap financing for capital use and will leverage additional financing from federal, state, municipal, and local development agencies, and corporations and private sector entities.

Shovel Ready Program – $2,500,000
This regional low-interest loan program will provide gap financing to facilitate site development, including environmental remediation, demolition, site preparation activities, and installation of infrastructure. The Shovel Ready Program will increase the Southern Tier Region’s capacity to attract and support business development by lowering the cost of site preparation and helping to position sites for NYS Shovel Ready Certification, which is a component of ESD’s Build Now-NY program which has been helping local communities attract substantial private-sector investment and create jobs. Communities throughout the Southern Tier utilizing these funds will be more competitive in future site selection activity, resulting in investment and new job creation. The application process will be open-ended and will be accepted until all funds are committed to projects. Eligible applicants include municipalities, municipal authorities, economic development organizations, industrial development agencies, chambers of commerce and local development corporations.

To learn more about the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Councils and its strategic plan and projects for economic growth, visit