November 2, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Hosts Regional Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance Conference in Rochester

TOP Governor Cuomo Hosts Regional Sustainable...

Community Development Experts, Local Elected Officials and Business Leaders to Share Economic Growth Strategies in the Finger Lakes Region

Handbook for Local Governments and Nonprofits Serves as One-Stop-Shop Resource For State Grants And Programs – Available at:


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the success of the state’s sixth regional sustainability conference, which brought together community development experts, local elected officials and business leaders to share successful economic growth strategies in the Finger Lakes Region. The conference is part of a statewide effort to boost awareness of resources available to local governments and nonprofit organizations to help create sustainable communities across New York. During the conference, Governor Cuomo highlighted a new handbook that serves as a one-stop-shop resource for State grants – providing context and web links to the complete list of more than 100 innovative funding programs.

“From the Regional Economic Development Councils, to strategic investments in the region’s burgeoning Photonics industry, our administration has taken a comprehensive approach to creating sustainable growth across the Finger Lakes,” Governor Cuomo said. “This initiative will help bring Rochester into a new era of economic development by breaking down barriers to growth, leveraging its assets, and solidifying the region’s role as a leader in tomorrow’s high-tech industries. We will continue building partnerships across the public and private sectors to create new opportunities for the region and ensure Rochester’s success story continues in the years ahead.”

The Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance Conference draws on then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo’s 1999 conference, "Bridging the Divide: Making Regions Work for Everyone: Shaping the Federal Agenda," which invited experts and academics in regionalism, smart growth and urban revitalization to present their ideas, followed by panel discussions among a diverse group of stakeholders.

Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State is prioritizing cross-collaboration between state agencies, local governments and community partners to maximize the collective impact of their efforts. The Finger Lakes region is a prime example of this bottom-up approach that has shown its success through the Regional Economic Development Councils.

To date, New York State has invested more than $3.4 billion in the Finger Lakes Region helping to advance the region's goals. Since September 2010, the region has added 158,000 private sector jobs – an increase of 5.4 percent, bringing the total number of private sector jobs to 3,066,700, as of September 2016. Today, the region's unemployment rate has dropped significantly – moving from 7.7 percent in September 2010 to 4.6 percent during the same time this year.

"Governor Cuomo has proven how critical sustainable principles and strategic investments are to the growth of a region, and this is exemplified everywhere you look in the Finger Lakes Region," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Thanks to the Governor's leadership and vision, we have continued to invest in creating and protecting jobs, jumpstart growth in new industries and strengthen our rural communities. The progress is undeniable and these conferences are key in building off those successes."

At the collaborative governance conference, speakers and panel discussions examined case studies, shared best practices and discussed examples of how New York State will continue to serve as a partner in creating sustainable, integrated communities and boosting bottom-up economic development efforts. Two sustainable development experts delivered keynote addresses:

  • Elaine Kamarck - Founding Director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution and Author of Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again
  • Dr. Nabil Nasr – Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology

While in Rochester, Governor Cuomo announced that American Packaging Corporation has committed to building a new manufacturing plant that will add 366 jobs to Monroe County. The construction of the new 350,000 square foot facility on Beaver Road in the Town of Chili will create 104 construction jobs and also means that the 170 employees currently working at the company's plant in the City of Rochester will remain on the job. After considering a potential move to Iowa, American Packaging decided to stay and expand in the Finger Lakes region thanks Governor Cuomo's emphasis on Upstate Revitalization through the Finger Lakes Forward strategic plan, as well as other local support efforts.

During the conference, $10.1 million in grants for nine projects to help protect more than 5,500 acres of at-risk farmland in the Finger Lakes were announced. The grants are funded through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program, and the projects will support the preservation of farmland for agricultural use and protect it from degradation through the use of perpetual conservation easements.

Other sustainability and development programs that have been initiated or reformed over the last six years under Governor Cuomo include:

  • Cleaner, Greener Regional Sustainability Plans
    • Regional Economic Development Councils
  • Land Bank Act to convert vacant properties
    • Legislation to combat zombie properties
    • Complete Streets design initiative
    • Upstate Revitalization Initiative
    • Hudson Valley Farmland Preservation and Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Programs
    • Clean Energy Communities
    • Brownfield Redevelopment Reform
    • Historic Preservation Tax Credit
    • Climate Smart Communities Grants
    • Community Risk and Resiliency Act

Elaine Kamarck, Founding Director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution and Author of Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again said, “Whenever I get a chance to come home I'm always impressed at the rapid progress being made here in the Finger Lakes. So much of what we did together during the Clinton administration and reinventing government is blossoming here in New York and I'm excited to join Governor Cuomo today to celebrate our accomplishments with an impressive and diverse group of participants.”

Dr. Nabil Nasr, Associate Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology said, “Through our Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and more recently the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, RIT has built a strong legacy in becoming a world-class hub for sustainability research and education. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and through forums like today’s conference, our commitment to sustainability, while serving as a major economic driver for our region and a leader in innovation and cutting-edge technologies, will enable us to continue to flourish as a key partner with the community, government and industry.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle said, "New York is a leader in sustainable growth strategies and clean energy initiatives, and with this conference we have brought together creative minds from across the region and the state to continue implementing the best ideas possible and stay on this positive trajectory. With support from Governor Cuomo, we are spurring economic growth and success at every corner of this state and I am proud to be a part of the resurgence here in Rochester."

Senator Joseph E. Robach said, "This conference brings together the local leaders and smart growth experts who are helping transform our region’s economic landscape into a model of sustainability. This conference will help create a positive synergy between the public and private sectors that will help grow our region's economy by always keeping an eye on the future. Thanks to the Governor’s commitment to advancing these principles, we are building a brighter future for our region."

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "Governor Cuomo’s leadership has built unprecedented pathways to sustainable development in the Finger Lakes region. By bringing industry leaders and business owners together to share resources and tactics, the Governor is establishing a culture of sustainable growth that will continue to shape our economy for generations to come."

Mayor Lovely Warren said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, our strategy of smart growth and sustainability is creating new jobs and economic opportunities in leading industries right here in Rochester. This conference brings together industry leaders with innovative ideas to build on our continued success and ensure a bright, sustainable future."

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Duffy said, "Rochester is transitioning into a new era of innovation and economic growth by focusing on growing our high-tech and clean energy industries. The Finger Lakes region is filled with businesses and institutions of higher learning that are proud to be driving forces behind this economic resurgence. I thank the Governor for believing in this region and this state and working together with our local leaders to take our communities to new heights."

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office