NY distributes funding to Regional Economic Development Councils

401(k) via/Flickr
December 12, 2013

The state of New York has awarded another $700 million in grants and tax breaks through the Regional Economic Development Councils. The councils were created in 2011 by Governor Cuomo as a way to coordinate economic development funding.

And for the third year, the awards were given at a ceremony in Albany’s Egg Theater hosted by TV personality Maria Bartiromo.

The big winners this year walked away with over 80-million dollars each.

The funding applications that were approved included $3.5 million for Main Street revitalization projects across the region, $1.5 million for additions to the Corning Museum of Glass and $1.3 million to build a hotel in the Catskills town of Margaretville.

A total of more than 800 projects statewide were selected for funding.

At an event like this, everybody is a winner, or so Governor Cuomo was quick to point out in his opening remarks. Long Island came out on top with 83 million dollars towards projects like the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Stony Brook Innovation and Discovery Center. It was the North Country which managed the only hat trick having won the ‘Top Performer’ honor for third year in a row.

Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the North Country Regional Council says supporting development by region has allowed them to thrive in ways they haven’t before.

“Past pronouncements by the state that these two or three sectors are our priority whether or not they happen to be your best opportunity or not, this region by region approach is something we had advocated for years.”

The North Country’s 81.3 million dollars will go towards developing its Plattsburgh International Airport, destination hotels and supporting several small biotech firms.

State Senator Joe Griffo, who represents parts of Mowhawk credits the nano tech industry which drove the economic development in both the Capital and Mowhawk regions, who both came away with around 82 million.

“This synergy of a corridor developing is going to be very important and significant much as you saw in the Silicon Valley in California, you have the opportunity on I-90 right now between the Mowhawk Valley and the Capital District.”

Not every region was a ‘Top Performer’ but Empire State Development Corporation president and CEO Ken Adams says the real goal is to fund the best projects in a hightly competitive process.

“The success of regional council isn’t based on the amount of money allocated it’s based on the economic development effectiveness of the projects funded.”

On balance over the last three years, all ten regions have received comparable amounts of the state’s money.