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Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Releases Comprehensive Strategic Plan and Priority Projects

(November 15, 2011)

Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Releases Comprehensive Strategic Plan and Priority Projects

The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council today released its comprehensive Strategic Plan as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Initiative. The 80-plus page plan, which was unanimously adopted, outlines strategies for economic development through the lens of community needs and input.

The entire text of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Strategic Plan may be viewed online at:

“Since August, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council has worked diligently to identify and address the key needs of this diverse region,” said Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, President and CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Westchester and co-chair of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. “The result is a comprehensive set of recommendations and action plans to ensure the creation of jobs in the region in the immediate and longer-term future.”

“This Council, with its talented members from small, medium and large businesses, academia and the public sector, spent countless hours culling through thousands of pages of documents and hundreds of hours of community input to create a plan to transform the way we will approach economic development in our communities,” said Dr. Dennis J. Murray, President of Marist College and co-chair of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. “What this document provides is the blue print, not just for guiding how projects are prioritized for key economic incentives on an on-going daily basis, but also for creating an overall business-friendly environment in the region that will foster economic growth for key industry sectors and small business.”

To develop its plan, the Council created a dozen working groups which included more than 100 members. Additionally, it held open meetings and public forums in each of the seven counties encompassing the region with more than 750 participants, as well as various meetings with municipal and statewide elected officials and community based organizations. The plan identifies 15 key goals, each with supporting strategies, to spur economic development, including:

  • Target job creation investments in identifiable industry “clusters” such as biotechnology, high-tech manufacturing, and information technology.
  • Undertake initiatives to retain and stimulate more mature industries such as distribution, financial and professional services, food and beverage, and health care, as these sectors represent large, vital anchor industries in the Mid-Hudson economy.
  • Leverage the region’s outstanding natural resources, tourism industry and agriculture in a “natural infrastructure” strategy that protects agriculture and the environment and recognizes these as important to tourism and as quality-of-life attributes that are critical to attracting and retaining high-quality jobs for all key industry sectors.
  • Improve key regional infrastructure to make the region more business-ready.
  • Foster housing investment to attract jobs to the region, create construction jobs and support the overall health of the regional economy through a vibrant housing market.
  • Support MWBEs (Minority and Women Business Enterprises).
  • Support the revitalization of our urban centers as engines of regional prosperity.
  • Promote entrepreneurship, start-ups and small businesses through a variety of measures that will make it easier to access public- and private-sector resources for access to capital; workforce training; and business and technical consulting. Offer tax incentives for businesses to renovate existing buildings and sales tax holidays to stimulate retail sales.

The Council identified and endorsed three “Priority Projects” that it believes will promulgate the core strategies of this Strategic Plan and have a transformational impact on the region:

  • In Westchester County, a biotechnology incubator at New York Medical College.
  • In Dutchess County, a cloud computing center at Marist College that leverages support from IBM.
  • In Sullivan County, a high-risk assessment clinic at the Center for Discovery, which has provided various services to children and adults with severe disabilities for more than 60 years.

“These three projects are critical to moving the region toward positive economic growth,” said Dr. Murray. “The projects illustrate a new thinking in economic development.”

“As part of this competition, we chose those projects which not only create jobs, but also change the way we do business in this region,” said Dr. Schleifer. “The projects symbolize an innovative, community-oriented approach to job creation.”

“We are proud to have been chosen as a Priority Project in our region,” said Dr. Robert Amler of New York Medical College. “A biotech incubator in this region will attract and nurture more start-up science-based companies. The endorsement of the Council further underscores the importance of the biotech and life science industry, the fastest-growing industry in terms of job creation in our region.”

“We acknowledge and appreciate the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council in being forward thinking as they selected Priority Projects in the region,” said Roger Norton, Dean of the School of Computer Science & Mathematics at Marist College. “Making cloud computing available to a wide variety of industries and small businesses in an affordable way is truly the next step in transforming the way we do business in the Hudson Valley.”

“The Council’s endorsement of the Assessment Clinic at the Center for Discovery is a testament to the work we do here each and every day,” said Center for Discovery President & CEO Patrick H. Dollard. “It is an innovative way of thinking about economic development and further illustrates the desire of our region to be a national and international leader in science and research.”

The Council also identified the following “Priority Projects in Development” that support the core strategies of the Plan and will have a transformational impact on the region in the future:

  • In Ulster County, a high-tech manufacturing center for job creation and workforce development
  • A medical school affiliated with the Orange County Regional Medical Center
  • In Putnam County, the Paladin law enforcement training center

Additionally, the Council recognized the transformational potential for the region of the following:

  • The Global 450 Consortium
  • The construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge
  • The redevelopment of excess capacity at the Pfizer R&D and Manufacturing site in Pearl River, and former IBM facilities in Fishkill and Tech City in Kingston
  • The upgrade of Stewart International Airport for passenger and cargo service and potentially for aerospace related industries
  • The Linuo Solar Group’s relocation to the former IBM campus in East Fishkill