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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Submits One-Year Progress Report

WNYREDC Endorses 24 Priority Projects for 2012 Regional Council Competition
(September 17, 2012)

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Submits One-Year Progress Report

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council submitted its one-year progress report to the State on September 14, 2012, which provides detail on the Council’s achievements in implementing its five year strategic plan. The report includes a description of how the council established a framework to advance the plan, revisions to some of its strategies, an implementation agenda and a tracking of the advancement of priority job-creating projects awarded in 2011. Additionally, the WNYREDC provided the State with its list of the 24 priority projects the Council has endorsed for the second round of the Regional Council competition.

The progress report can be found at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.

“Over the last year, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, with the overwhelming participation of the regional community, came together to develop a vision for our region, a strategic plan and priorities, and quite impressively the implementation of many of our priority projects,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. “Our regional plan approach is to strategically coordinate public and private investments to build a new, innovative and sustainable 21st century economy for members of our community today and for generations to come. And today, we are so pleased to report our progress in making the vision for our region a reality.”

“These initiatives are coming together because people are working together – business, government, higher education, health care, philanthropies, the arts, the hospitality industry, agriculture and others – to advance our economic future in a truly sustainable way,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council Co-chair. “This new way of working helped produce a strategy to advance regional priorities – a strategy that is guiding our investments. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his vision in initiating the Regional Council process.”

The Western New York region’s 2011 strategic plan, “A Strategy for Prosperity,” leverages the region’s strategic advantages in key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health & life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism. The plan focuses on strategies that promote smart growth, are oriented to young adults, builds upon regional strengths, have a regional impact and improve the regions image. The region was awarded $100.3 million towards 96 projects in December 2011 based on the plan.

The 2012 Progress Report tracks the progress of the 96 projects that were awarded funding in the first round of CFA applications and details how the Western New York region can continue to measure progress. The 96 projects are being tracked through a Statewide system that classifies projects according to if they are moving ahead on schedule. Of the 96 projects from the first round of CFA’s, 83 percent are moving forward on schedule, 11 percent are progressing more slowly than anticipated due to challenges with market conditions, project financing, project planning or a lack of workers/suppliers and 5 percent of the projects have been terminated due to the applicant denying the grant, the CFA funding being significantly less than the applicants grant or the project relocating to another region in New York State. The progress report also identifies the region’s three core strategies of preparing our workforce, implementing smart growth and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, and how it can measure progress in these critical areas.

The following 24 projects were endorsed by the Council and submitted to the State as regional priorities for the second round of the Regional Council initiative’s competitive grant funding process:

Prepare Our Workforce:

  • Finishing Trades Institute of Western & Central New York has 1500 members and 100+ contractors in which it provides OSHA approved Health & Safety classes, 4 DOL apprentice programs, as well as journeyman upgrading and retraining in 33 counties across Western, Central & Northern New York. To support growing demands for skilled contractors, the FTI is seeking funds to expand its existing buildings training space.

Encourage Smart Growth:

  • Western Region Corporation Community Revitalization Program, headquartered in Buffalo, New York proposes to create and administer a community revitalization revolving loan/grant fund that will be available in communities in each the five Western New York region counties. This program will result in community revitalization in specific neighborhoods and downtown business districts in a number of communities in Western New York.
  • Wellsville Waterline Extension The Town of Wellsville requests assistance in the addition of infrastructure to provide public water to address the needs of area businesses along NYS Route 417. The 1.25-mile project area supports facilities for 15 businesses, including Alstom Air-Preheater Corporation (620 employees) and Northern Lights Candles (100 employees).
  • Town of Ellicottville Regional Water Project involves the construction of a 350,000 gallon water tank and related water transmission works to eliminate low flows and pressures in the Town and Village of Ellicotville and the Town of Mansfield. This project will allow for job retention and growth by improving infrastructure used by existing major employers.
  • Buffalo Niagara Street Sustainable Corridor and Community integration Project aspires to improve transportation components within a section of Niagara Street, a rapidly developing corridor that covers 4.5 miles of business and residential areas. This project will serve to enhance safety, calm traffic, and encourage bicycle and pedestrian use, which utilizes the same approach as the city-backed "Complete Streets" movement.
  • Downtown Niagara Falls Stabilization Project NYMS aims to revitalize the downtown mixed-use commercial district and adjacent residential neighborhood, to attract young adults, by offering to assist with the re-payment of student loans. The City of Niagara Falls estimates 20 young professionals will move into the targeted Third Street Commercial District or Park Place Historic District locations by the end of 2012.
  • 5 East Main Street Springville Center for the Arts will acquire and rehabilitate 5 East Main Street in Springville, NY, into an Arts Cafe, Artisan Marketplace and Artist Housing.
  • 37 North Buffalo Street Springville Center for the Arts, a major provider of cultural activity and artistic experience in rural Western New York, will conduct critical improvements to the 1869 Baptist Church property at 37 North Buffalo Street it purchased for adaptive reuse as a multi-arts center.
  • Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater The restoration and reopening of the Theater is expected to create jobs and enhance cultural tourism while greatly encouraging new business development, in the center of a Village that has undergone considerable economic distress over the past 30 years.

Foster A Culture of Entrepreneurship:

  • Center SPACE Buffalo will operate a multi-tenant office facility for nonprofits, for-profits, social entrepreneurs and unincorporated community groups. CenterSpace will provide back office services and general office management and administration.

WNY Industry Sector: Advanced Manufacturing

  • Alfred University Integrated Manufacturing Center: Alfred University is proposing to partner with the State University of New York at Buffalo to create an Advanced Materials Manufacturing and Training Center to substantially advance the speed with which new materials, and therefore new products and processes, are brought to market.
  • Ceramic Technology Partnership, LLC: Calix Ceramic Solutions, GNP Ceramics, and Ceramic Technology Partnership are proposing a joint development project to create a company which makes ceramic products using three new advanced ceramic manufacturing processes.
  • The University at Buffalo's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CoE) will be a driving force for technological breakthroughs and job creation in Western New York by undertaking applied materials research driven by industrial needs.
  • TheraSyn Pharmaceuticals will include the expansion of an existing facility, energy plan development, new capital expenditures for equipment, and extensive hiring of personnel.
  • ProTech Automation is seeking assistance to expand their Lancaster, New York facility to create additional capacity to meet the increasing demand of its customers. The project will help ProTech reduce production costs and provide a relief from cost pressures from domestic and overseas competitors.
  • Del Monte Foods proposes to install additional railcar staging and unloading at their Milk-Bone Buffalo facility. This investment will help assure the Milk-Bone plant remains in Western New York for the foreseeable future as the only manufacturer of the Milk-Bone line.

WNY Industry Sector: Energy

  • Wood Fuel Processing Facility: Niagara Recovery will procure construction and demolition wood, process and recover the vast majority of the available wood, and supply an on-spec renewable fuel for Niagara Generation. Niagara Recovery will also create an additional steam of recycled metals and other materials that will be separated from the wood in the process.
  • Dunkirk Bioenergy will provide a more affordable recycled waste disposal alternative and lower cost clean power and heat to two of the largest employers in Chautauqua County. This project is designed to take advantage of the industrial organic waste stream that exists in a small circumference around the facility site to receive and process organic waste for power generation.
  • Low Emissions Wood Fired Boilers: Lopper, a German company seeking to break into the US market, is seeking funding to purchase and install manufacturing equipment necessary for the production of low emission, high-efficiency wood-fired boilers.

WNY Industry Sector: Health & Life Sciences

  • Personalized Medicine Biorepository: The University at Buffalo, in collaboration with colleagues at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, proposes the creation of a Deep Image Annotation Enabled Bio-Repository (DIAEB) for Precision Diagnostics.

WNY Industry Sector: Tourism

  • Swain Ski Resort proposes to install a high speed detachable quad chairlift to replace two old, inefficient lifts at Swain Ski Resort.
  • Allegany State Park: This project will include the expansion of existing water, sewer, power, natural gas services, lodging and other facilities. Specifically, the project will include increasing the current inventory of 9 full service cottages to approximately 37, development of a Group Camp offering and construction of a world class ropes course and zip line attraction.
  • Darwin Martin House Interior Restoration: Final phase of interior restoration of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York. Investing in the restoration of the Martin House will ensure a Tourism Asset with long-term, sustainable benefits that will revitalize the Western New York community on multiple levels, both economically and in terms of the area's ability to market the community at large for its arts and architecture.
  • Arctic Edge Exhibit: The Buffalo Zoo seeks funding for a new $14 million Arctic Edge exhibit, including naturalistic habitats for polar bears, Arctic wolf, Canadian lynx and bald eagle. It will create 228 construction jobs, further enhance a major tourist attraction and beloved community asset, and promote sustainability through education programs addressing climate change.

All priority project funding recommendations are pending final approval by the Governor’s Office.

Governor Cuomo created Regional Councils and the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to fundamentally change New York’s operating model for economic development and job creation. The Regional Councils have transformed the way the State invests in economic development, shifting from a top-down approach to a community-based, performance-driven model which empowers individual regions to develop, invest in, and advance regional solutions and job-creating projects to spur economic growth.

Last year, $785 million was awarded for job-creating economic and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. To build on the success of the first round, a second round of up to $762 million in State resources was launched in 2012. Funding for the second round includes $220 million in competitive grant funding ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) to implement regional strategic plans and continue to advance priority job-creating projects, and up to $542 million from State agency programs through the CFA to support regionally-significant economic development projects.

Five awards of $25 million will be made, and the competition will have two parts:

  • First, the four regions with the 2011 Best Plans will compete for two awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds. Awards will be made based on the progress the Regional Councils have made implementing their strategies and evolution of their strategic plans.
  • Second, the remaining six regions will compete for three awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds. Awards will be made based on the regions’ revised and updated strategic plans and progress made implementing their strategies.

The balance of the $25 million in capital will be available for priority projects in the remaining five regions. In addition, each region will also be eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.

Following the submission of each region’s one-year progress reports, beginning in mid-September, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team will visit each of the 10 regions, to hear oral presentations and participate in a tour of the Councils’ implementation activity and priority projects. These tours will make New York’s economic development process more transparent, open and publicly-accessible. Funding awards for the second round of the CFA process are expected to be announced this fall.

As part of "The New New York Works for Business" campaign, the State has launched a new website – www.thenewNY.com – which provides quick access to information for all areas of business assistance available from New York State. From starting a business, to accessing tax credits and funding incentives, to international trade, to regional assistance, this is a one-stop shop for all businesses to successfully thrive in New York.

To learn more about each Regional Council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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