Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today kicked off a statewide Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Progress Tour in Buffalo, where he toured Western New York approved projects to see their progress and economic impact in the region. This is the first visit in the Governor's statewide REDC Progress Tour that is designed to provide the Governor and a State Assessment team comprised of commissioners and agency staff with a firsthand view of each regions priority projects and strategic plans as the Councils compete for funding in the third round of the REDC process.
The Regional Councils have transformed the way the state invests in job creation and economic development from a top-down process to one that empowers local business, academic, and community leaders to decide what is best for their own regions, Governor Cuomo said. More than two years ago, we charged each Council to develop a strategic plan for job creation based on their regions unique strengths and assets, and we are already seeing the results with projects creating new jobs all across the state. This tour will enable the state assessment team to see firsthand the progress as well as the new jobs and opportunities that have been made here in Western New York over the past years.
The Governors tour included visits to the following project sites:
- Historically Aligned Public Canal System
- ECHDC design projects on the Aud Block including Liberty Hound Restaurant, Childrens Museum, Temporary Beer Garden
- One Canalside
- East Canal
- Michigan Street Corridor including the Fairmont Building and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino
- Cobblestone District including Helium Comedy Club, Elements Bar and Grille, Buffalo iron Works, Lagerhouse 95
- Ohio Street Parkway
- 441 Ohio Street
- Patrick Paladino Memorial Boathouse
- Private Development on Kelly Island
- Silo City Rocks
- Freezer Queen
- Port Terminal A & B
In the first two rounds of the Regional Council initiative, Western New York was awarded $153 million in state support for some 156 projects across the region. Of those projects, over 92 percent are now underway as a result of funding they received.
Once completed, the projects awarded funding in Western New York through the 2011 and 2012 REDC process will significantly boost the local economy and result in an estimated 8,650 jobs supported, including jobs created and retained.
Western New York continues to create jobs by building on our strengths and investing in our future, said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. Our region is truly on the move and we are excited by the positive change happening across Western New York.
The progress that were seeing in Western New York is real and we couldnt be more excited to show it off to the states Strategic Investment Assessment Team, said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council Co-chair. By combining strategic planning with the resources available through the state to implement our plan, our region is truly on the move and making a real difference in the lives of Western New Yorkers. My respect and appreciation goes out to Governor Cuomo for spearheading the Regional Council initiative, which is changing the landscape of economic development in Western New York like never before.
The success of some fourteen hundred projects across the State clearly demonstrates that the Governors Regional Council initiative is working and delivering on its intentions, said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council allows those who know their regions best, including its unique assets and challenges, to weigh in on what matters most locally and back projects that will have a real impact and best spur the regional economy.
Following the tour, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council provided a formal presentation outlining the progress they have made in advancing last year's strategic plans and implementing its supporting projects, as well as their endorsed projects for Round 3 to an assessment team of state commissioners and officials. The Council's progress report and full list of endorsed priority projects for 2013 can be found at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.
The Regional Council competition awards will be made based on the progress the Councils have made in implementing their strategies and the evolution of their strategic plans. Prior to the statewide progress tour, each Council submitted to the State on September 24, 2013 its two-year progress report, which details the Councils achievements in implementing its five year strategic plan.
Statewide, the first two rounds of the Regional Council initiative included $1.5 billion in investments to support more than 1,400 economic and community development projects consistent with each regions strategic plans that are creating or helping retain an estimated 75,000 jobs. To continue building on the success of rounds one and two, up to $760 million in state resources are available in 2013. Funding for the third round includes $220 million ($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 $540 million from state agency programs through the Consolidated Funding Application to support regionally-significant economic development projects.
Governor Cuomo created the Regional Councils and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to fundamentally change New Yorks 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.
To learn more about each Regional Council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.