Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Approves 2013 Progress Report and Priority Projects
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) has endorsed its 2013 progress report and approved the council’s priority project list for Round III of the state Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. The progress report, including the list of priority projects for the five-county region, composed of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, will now be finalized and submitted to New York State ahead of the September 24 deadline. As part of the third round of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative to stimulate job creation and economic growth, up to $760 million in economic development resources are available to applicants through the CFA in 2013.
The public can view the draft progress report at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.
“As we embark on year three of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, it is clear momentum is building in Western New York,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. “Western New York as a region is combining strategic planning with the resources available to implement our plan. Since the inception of the new Regional Council approach, Western New York has invested $153 million through the CFA process in strategic projects that build on our unique strengths, highlighted by investments in the medical campus, tourism and advanced manufacturing.”
“There is positive change happening in Western New York,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council Co-chair. “The progress is evident in our Council’s strategies – all of which are focused on building on our strengths, creating jobs and investing in the future. We have a highly engaged Council helping to inform investment decisions in West New York, rather than an Albany driven model. All of this has been made possible by the strategic leadership and direction from Governor Andrew Cuomo.”
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. To read the full strategic plan, visit: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/themes/nyopenrc/rc-files/westernny/A_Strategy_for_Prosperity_in_Western_New_York_November_2011.pdf
The 2011 and 2012 Progress Report tracks the progress of the 156 projects that were awarded funding in the first and second rounds of CFA applications and details how the Western New York region can continue to measure progress. Of the 156 projects from the first two round of CFA’s, 92 percent are moving forward on schedule and 8 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. To date, nearly 3,000 voices have contributed to the planning process through collaborative, community-based engagement with the region’s public and private partners.
Continuing the Council’s focus on building on assets, creating jobs and investing in the future, the Council, in between CFA funding rounds has endorsed state funding of $58 million into many business expansion projects which will leverage $630 million in private sector investment and lead to the creation and retention of more than 6,500 jobs. These projects include Yahoo, Welded Tube, Rich Products, FedEx, Time Warner Cable, Alita and more. This year’s Council recommended priority projects focus on building on our assets to invest in the future. The following 16 projects were endorsed by the Council and submitted to the State as regional priorities for the third round of the Regional Council initiative’s competitive grant funding process:
Implement Smart Growth
- Enhanced MetroRail Evaluation, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority: This project will recommend infrastructure investments that will multiply the economic impact of the development occurring in downtown Buffalo while promoting smart growth principles.
- Dunkirk Seawall and Lake Front Redevelopment, City of Dunkirk: This project targets waterfront redevelopment and tourism. The City of Dunkirk will reconstruct the Lakefront Boulevard Seawall and redevelop the boulevard into a tourist destination.
- Brownfield Land Acquisition, County of Erie: Brownfield redevelopment is an essential component of smart growth, as both seek to return abandoned and underutilized sites to their fullest potential as community and economic assets. Erie County will purchase approximately 94 acres of brownfield property on the former Bethlehem Steel site in the City of Lackawanna. This is the largest brownfield site in the region at over 1,000 acres. Acquisition of this parcel will begin the redevelopment of this significant regional asset.
- McNallie Building Rehabilitation, Town of Randolph: This project promotes smart growth in the revitalization of downtown Randolph by encouraging redevelopment of key anchor properties that are currently a blight to the community.
- Rushford Elementary School, Cuba Rushford Central School District: In line with the Town of Rushford Community Plan, this adaptive reuse project creates new housing and commercial space in a former historic elementary school while preserving the Town’s open spaces.
Foster a Culture of Entrepreneurship
- Computing Infrastructure, University at Buffalo: Fostering rapid innovation in the development of new products and processes is central to sustainable economic growth. UB’s Center for Computational Research (CCR) proposes to expand its high performance computing and data analytics resource to provide Western New York industry and organizations with on-demand, immediate access to advanced computing and storage infrastructure. This infrastructure is critical to the growth of many areas companies like Sentient and Empire Visual Effects.
Prepare Our Workforce
- Trades Job Training Facility, City of Niagara Falls Development Department: This project proposes to reuse a fire station as a trades jobs training facility for unemployed residents of Niagara Falls. The students trained at the facility will work on renovated city-owned condemned properties which will then be sold below market rates and the proceeds retuned to the program. This will help them increase capacity of their training program from 30 to 90 students per year.
WNY Industry Sector: Advanced Manufacturing
- Chautauqua Regional Water, Chautauqua County: By consolidating the municipal water supplies in the northern part of Chautauqua County, the project promotes economic development and job retention and creation by enhancing the inadequate water systems in the region at an affordable cost. Water infrastructure is critical to many large food processors in this area.
- Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center (SAMC), Alfred State College: The project will create facilities that will train students in methods desired by advanced manufacturers. The proposed SAMC will integrate Alfred State’s existing machine tool, welding, and drafting/CAD students into a highly energy efficient facility where students will be trained in state-of-the-art techniques in sustainable manufacturing.
- Rare Earth Recycling, TAM Ceramics Group of NY, LLC: This project’s scope will gain global recognition as the first Rare Earth Recycling facility in the U.S. TAM Ceramics will collaborate with Dream It Do IT WNY, Niagara County Community College and Orleans Niagara BOCES to develop skills training to fill job openings, and will work with Alfred University and University at Buffalo to develop advanced technologies, rare earth material uses and process efficiencies.
- Flying Bison New Brewery, Matt Brewing Co., Inc.: Moving the Flying Bison brewery will greatly increase the company’s ability to grow the business. Flying Bison will be an attraction in downtown Buffalo and have a significantly positive effect on the overall neighborhood.
WNY Industry Sector: Health/Life Sciences
- Clinical Implementation of Next Generation Sequencing, Personalized Medicine Pathways, LLC: This is a continuation of an initiative to create the Center for Personalized Medicine (CPM) launched by Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The initially funded genomic research has evolved from only sequencing for research to developing a comprehensive, clinically based gene test providing therapeutic results for cancer patients at time of diagnosis through a new business partnership with Computer Task Group (CTG).
WNY Industry Sector: Tourism
- Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier: The museum is a keystone for tourism development and downtown revitalization in North Tonawanda. Restoration of the original Allan Herschell Company office building into another attraction will complete the restoration of this historic museum complex and contribute significantly to the goals of the museum.
- Darwin D. Martin House Interior Restoration, Martin House Restoration Corporation: Investing in the Martin House will ensure long-term, sustainable benefits, both economically and in terms of our area’s ability to market its arts and architectural assets.
- Lockport Ice Arena, Lockport Ice Arena & Sports Center, Inc.: The project is intended to reverse the tide of disinvestment in Lockport’s downtown and act as a catalyst for revitalization of the community. The project involves demolishing a long vacant supermarket and investing $11 million in capital costs for a two-pad hockey arena with related retail space located in the heart of downtown.
- Historic Hollywood Theatre, Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater, Ltd.: The development of this project, along with other tourism resources, has the potential to mold the economic future of this rural tri-county area. This is a multi-phase restoration project of the 1926 Hollywood Theatre in the Gowanda Village Historic District.
The WNYREDC, which is composed of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York state that serve as a single point of contact for economic activity in the various regions. The WNYREDC was named a “Best Plan Awardee” in 2011.
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 made up 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. After two rounds of competitive awards, nearly 1,500 projects are receiving support to put people back to work, get the economy back on track, and restore New York State as the Empire State. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit http://www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.