Projects that will move forward as a result of Round VII of the Regional Council initiative include Howlett Soy Barley Grain Center, Former Medley Center redevelopment, Opalux Manufacturing and Junior Achievement Discovery Center

Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy 

A full list of the 2017 REDC awards is available at

As part of Round VII of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) was awarded $63.9 million for 110 projects that build on the region’s assets to invest in the future.  The announcement, which supports projects in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, was made Wednesday in Albany.  In the first seven rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Finger Lakes region has been awarded $570.1 million in state support for 715 projects across the region.  

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “This funding is further representation that Finger Lakes Forward is more than a slogan.  The dedication of our council members, work groups and community stakeholders demonstrate that with strong commitments to our regional advantages in key industry sectors, we can accelerate regional economic development.  We thank Governor Cuomo and New York State for another significant round of investment in our region and our communities.”

The FLREDC’s five year strategic plan, “Finger Lakes Forward-United for Success,” lays out the region’s efforts to ensure sustainable and long-term growth in the nine county region and to leverage the region’s advantages in key industry sectors, including photonics, optics and imaging, advanced and next generation manufacturing and  agriculture and food production.  Some of the funded CFA projects announced yesterday include:

  • Repurposing existing infrastructure by awarding $2 million for the Former Medley Center redevelopment to include Phase I renovations to renovate the former mall into a multi-purpose office and mixed-use center.
  • Growing the Finger Lakes’ vibrant agriculture and food processing sector, including $1.5 million for Howlett Soy Barley Grain Center, $620,000 for Vigneri Chocolate expansion, $510,000 for The Perfect Granola facility; $429,700 for New York Wine & Culinary Center facility and programmatic expansion; $300,000 for Organic Specialty Mushroom Production and $180,000 for First Light Farm Creamery expansion.  
  • Enhancing the region’s reputation as a top state tourist destination, including $1 million for the George Eastman Museum to create a new accessible main entrance and welcome center, $1 million for the Rochester Museum Science Center for a gateway building, $850,000 for enhancements of Genesee Gateway Park and Genesee Riverway Trail.
  • Expanding the region’s longstanding entrepreneurial culture with an emphasis on starting and growing next generation technology businesses, including $1.5 million for CGI Communications office space and parking garage development project and $250,000 for Hobart and William Smith Colleges Downtown Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Supporting sustainability through $50,000 in funding for the RIT Food Waste Utilization and Upcycling Testbed Phase I.
  • Assisting next generation manufacturers, including $400,000 to Opalux Manufacturing facility and $50,000 to Automated Modular Digital Precision Fabric Cutting Factory
  • Supporting Pathways to Prosperity, including $$620,000 for Junior Achievement Discovery Center at Eastman Business Park, $400,000 for Center for Teen Empowerment Inc.’s expansion, $230,000 for Rochester Network Supply expansion and $100,000 for expansion Rochester Childfirst Network’s facilities Phase II. 
  • Other awarded projects include $600,000 to OptiPro, $250,000 to Barsuk Recycling railroad infrastructure project and $110,000 to the RIT Cell and Tissue Technologies Laboratory

A full list of the 2017 REDC awards is available at

A centerpiece of the Governor's strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were established in 2011 to replace the state's old top-down approach to economic development, with one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region's unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.  Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, over $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs statewide.

During Round VII, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), which is composed of state agency commissioners and policy experts, traveled to each of the 10 regions to see firsthand the progress being made by REDC investments. The SIAT received presentations on this year's proposals from the Regional Councils directly and assessed the implementation of the regions' strategic plans. 

To learn more about the FLREDC, visit

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing.

Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here. ​