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Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Accepting Applications for Community Revitalization & Job-Creating Initiatives

$5 million award continues funding important programs that facilitate downtown and community redevelopment, grow agriculture and forestry ventures, and encourage investment and job creation
(May 31, 2013)

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Accepting Applications for Community Revitalization & Job-Creating Initiatives

The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC) today announced that applications are currently being accepted for three regional job-creating initiatives – the Community Revitalization Program, Shovel Ready Program and Rural Initiative Program. Established in 2012 from funds awarded through the first round of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, the three programs established regional low-interest loan funds to facilitate economic and community site development, as well as business promotion across the Southern Tier.

After producing successful results and receiving positive feedback from the region, the STREDC endorsed another round of funding for the programs as a priority in its 2012 submission to the State. The region was awarded $5 million in economic development resources, which were recently approved by the Empire State Development (ESD) Board of Directors to support the continuation of the three programs.

The application process for all three programs is open-ended and applications will be accepted until all funds are committed to projects. For more information on eligibility and application materials, please visit the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council website.

“Last year, these three programs were well received and very successful – this year we are looking forward to a second round of strong projects that create jobs, revitalize our communities and grow the economy,” said STREDC Co-chairs Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University and Tom Tranter, President & CEO of Corning Enterprises. “The Community Revitalization, Rural Initiative and Shovel Ready programs are a great example of the innovative approach to economic development that Governor Cuomo envisioned for the Regional Councils. These programs have enabled the Council to work with area businesses and communities to align state resources with locally-driven strategies that will grow our economy. By providing the tools and resources for projects to get off the ground, communities across the region are seeing their downtowns get a much-needed facelift, agribusinesses are expanding, and we are attracting private investments that will create jobs and encourage immediate and lasting business growth.”

The first round of the Community Revitalization, Shovel Ready and Rural Initiative programs was very successful – in fact, several Regional Councils looked to the Southern Tier’s model when developing similar programs for the second round of the REDC competition.

  • The Community Revitalization Program has assisted with seven development projects around the region, with 72% of Round 1 funds committed.
  • The Shovel Ready Program has assisted with two significant property development projects and 99% of Round 1 funds committed.
  • The Rural Initiative Program has assisted with 13 small business expansion projects, with 81% of Round 1 funds committed and 122 new jobs to be created.

The Community Revitalization Program ($2.5 million) is a regional low-interest loan program that facilitates the redevelopment of downtown and community center locations to encourage investment and job creation. The program assists 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 include cities, towns and villages within the eight counties in the Southern Tier Region.

The Shovel Ready Program ($1.5 million) is a regional low-interest loan program that provides gap financing to facilitate site development including environmental remediation, demolition, site preparation activities, and installation of infrastructure. This program helps to 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, 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. Eligible applicants include municipalities, municipal authorities, economic development organizations, industrial development agencies, chambers of commerce and local development corporations.

The Rural Initiative Program ($1 million) is a regional low-interest loan fund to reduce financial risk and increase sustainability of agriculture and forestry ventures, and encourage investment and job creation. The program is consistent with the STREDC’s Regional Strategic 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 provides 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.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 regional councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The regional councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. As a result of the first two rounds of competitive awards, the State is supporting more than 1,450 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating new jobs for New Yorkers and generating investments to grow the economy. For more information on the regional councils, visit