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Schumer unveils $500 million bill that could help fund industrial development in Southern Tier

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at the Schuyler County Business Park in Watkins Glen.
Natalie Abruzzo
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at the Schuyler County Business Park in Watkins Glen.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a press conference at the Schuyler County Business Park in Watkins Glen on Aug. 1 to boost bipartisan legislation that could bring millions of dollars to the region over the next five years.

The Opportunities for Non-Developed Sites to Have Opportunities to be Rehabilitated for Economic Development (ONSHORE) Act would provide $100 million per year for five years through a grant and could bolster Southern Tier industrial sites to scale domestic manufacturing businesses.

“What it does is it finally solves the chicken and or the egg problem that municipalities and companies have faced for years of needing to prepare sites for new investments even ahead of having a company interested,” said Schumer.

The possible funding for the Critical Supply Chain Site Development Grant Program would be administered through the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The senator said he would use his “clout as majority leader to help get these grants approved” for the Southern Tier.

Schumer was joined by Carl Blowers, chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature, Michael Lausell, Schuyler County legislator, Kamala Keeley, president of Three Rivers Development Corporation, Jamie Johnson, executive director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), Nigar Hale, executive director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.

“This bill is so vitally important to this country, you know, to any community that is rural,” said McKinney Cherry. “It's going to have the opportunity to compete with some of the larger areas that they haven't been able to compete with in the past.”

Three sites in the area that could apply for the grant if the legislation is passed are the Wayland Business Park in Steuben County, Chemung Foundry in Elmira, and the Schuyler County Business Park.

“The manufacturing jobs are coming back," expressed Schumer. "My dream, you know, we saw over decades how many companies left our region, whether it was in Elmira or Binghamton or even here in Schuyler County. But now they're coming back into good new industries that are going to have a great future, whether it's manufacturing chips, semiconductor chips. Whether it's solar and wind and that kind of thing. It's so much, so many good jobs are coming back.”

If the ONSHORE Act is passed the funding would be available by January 2024.