Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Submits Round V Progress Report
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) announced its progress report was submitted to the State to meet the September 21 deadline. The progress report, which details the Council’s achievements in implementing its five year strategic plan,”A Strategy for Prosperity,” reflects Western New York’s progress on efforts to ensure sustainable and long-term growth in the five county region and to leverage the region’s advantages in key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health & life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism.
The report outlines the region’s strong performance record in implementing its strategies and projects since the first round of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative in 2011. The first four rounds resulted in $272.5 million in State funding for 306 projects, 82% of which are completed or on schedule. The Council’s plan supports this positive trend and will continue to build on the success of previous years, accelerating Western New York’s regional economy to the next level.
The progress report can be found on the Western New York Regional Council’s website at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york
“Western New York’s renaissance has been catalyzed by the many successful economic development projects that have been designed to support of our region’s vision of prosperity,”said Satish Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President. “With this fifth year of funding through Governor Cuomo’s regional council initiative, WNY is keenly focused on bringing exciting, new ideas to the fore so we can fully realize the economic potential of our entire region. The support of the state, over the last five years and as we move forward, has and will be instrumental in ensuring that WNY has a very bright future.”
“National headlines are starting to reflect the success we are seeing in our region,” said Jeff Belt, “Our strategy provided an organizing framework which has fostered a virtuous cycle of public and private investment. This is attracting talented people and new businesses to choose Western New York. For the first time in decades we’re enjoying job growth, new venture investment and we’re attracting young professionals to our region’s outstanding quality of life.”
There was strong public participation throughout Round V that proved extremely valuable as the WNYREDC hosted more than 400 stakeholders at forums, summits and meetings, educating them on the strategic plan and the CFA process while offering technical assistance to potential applicants and building the pipeline of priority projects for this round earlier in the year.
The Council has made significant progress over the last several years through the Regional Council process, including 48 Priority Projects underway or completed, helping to transform the strategic sectors identified in the Plan. The Council looked to the next phase of its work, and placed significant focus on the continued development of collaborations both in and out of the region, and successful implementation of its strategies and programs, including Innovation Hot Spot/Business Incubators, the Cleaner Greener Initiative, Veterans and Opportunity Agendas, NY Rising, SUNY 2020 and START-UP NY.
The following 27 projects that applied for ESD Grant Funds, located across the five-county region composed of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties and supporting Western New York’s diverse economic sectors, were endorsed by the Council as regional priorities for Round V of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative and submitted to the State for recommended direct funding:
- Bethlehem Steel Redevelopment, City of Lackawanna
- Next Gen-Alfred-Advanced Manufacturing Incubator, Village of Alfred
- Gates Circle Infrastructure, City of Buffalo
- Highland Avenue Business Park Phase 1, City of Niagara Falls
- The Farmhouse Community Food Training and Resource Center, City of Buffalo
- South County Industrial Park Expansion, Town of Ellicott
- Expansion of Manufacturing Technology Institutes, City of Olean and City of Jamestown
- National Comedy Center Park, City of Jamestown
- North 3rd Street Reconstruction Project, City of Olean
- Downtown Olean Revitalization, City of Olean
- National Comedy Center Connector, City of Jamestown
- Main Street Campus Revitalization Project, City of Buffalo
- Entertainment District/Franklin Street Corridor, City of Buffalo
- Vineyard expansion, Town of Lockport
- Riviera Theatre Expansion, City of North Tonawanda
- MicroEnterprise Assistance, City of Niagara Falls
- WNY Small Business Fund, Regional
- Destination Hotel, Village of Celoron
- Historic East Village Revitalization Phase 1, City of Buffalo
- William O. Smith Recreation Center Complex Improvements, City of Olean
- Broadway Market, City of Buffalo
- Biorefinery Development and Commercialization Center, Village of Wellsville
- E-Works, City of Dunkirk
- Buffalo Zoo Reptile House, City of Buffalo
- Richardson Development Project, City of Buffalo
- Mushroom Compost Facility, City of Lackawanna
- Regional Sports Complex, Village of Springville
The WNY REDC received 240 eligible proposals in response to this round of the Consolidated Funding Application call for projects. Over 100 of those applications across multiple state agency programs are being recommended as Other Council Priority Projects and over 75 applications are deemed as Other Regionally Significant Projects.
Strong performance and growth in the region's key strategic sectors are a result of the Council’s dedication to transforming the region’s economy:
- WNY regional economy added over 7,500 jobs, 1,100 new firms and additional $1.9 billion in wages between 2011 and 2014. At the same time, unemployment rates fell as the number of individuals actively seeking work dropped by 14,781 since 2011. This 26% decline in the number of individuals who are unemployed outperforms what has happened statewide.
- Private sector growth was responsible for the region’s net job gain. Private employers hired an additional 11,103 workers between 2011 and 2014. Pay gains were also realized by the private sector, with total wages paid increasing 13.1% since 2011-almost 6 times the rate of growth private sector jobs, indicating the addition of higher paying jobs.
- Industry output is spurring growth in WNY’s metropolitan core. Output expanded by 5.4% to $51.6 billion in 2013.
- Expanding employment opportunities in WNY is catching the attention of millennials. The population of young adults between ages of 20 and 34 increased by over 14,100, reflecting growth of 5.4% between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile 435 fewer individuals are leaving the region-a 16% improvement since 2011.
- Visitor spending which supports tourism attractions and services, and enhances quality of life for all residents rose by 11.8% between 2011 and 2014 as visitors infused an additional $300 million into the regional economy since 2014.
- The number of new businesses in WNY increased by 67% between 2012 and 2014. The nearly 4,000 new businesses that were added are indicative of a more welcoming climate and economy for entrepreneurs.
- WNY is making strides in preparing the region’s workforce for skilled jobs in target sectors. A greater share of high school students are graduating. The number of associates and bachelor’s degrees the region generated rose by 2.7% between 2011 and 2013, resulting in hundreds more college students that employers seek to fill jobs.
To continue building on the success of the last four rounds, up to $750 million in State resources is available in Round V. Funding awards for Round V of the CFA process are expected to be announced by the end of the year.
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 awarded 58.6 Million for 69 Projects in 2014.
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
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 four rounds of the REDC process, nearly $3 billion has been awarded to more than 3,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 150,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.