Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council to receive $96.2-million

Posted at: 12/19/2012 10:10 AM
Updated at: 12/19/2012 6:36 PM
By: Ray Levato

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the second round of state economic development grants Wednesday.

Rochester and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council fared better this time around and garnered a "best plan" award of $96.2 Million.

It was high fives all around as Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman congratulated members of the Council he co-chairs with U.R. President Joel Seligman.

This is the second year of the economic development awards. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council missed out on one of the four top awards last year -- and had to settle for a lesser amount with the remaining regional councils. Wegman said, “Why did we win here? I think we won here because of this team and the others on the team. Again, it's the team approach that works. It's always been a key approach in Rochester to collaborate and now IO think it's extended to the whole region.

News10NBC asked what this award means to the average citizen. “First of all, jobs. Taxes are spread all around. More opportunity to grow themselves as the economy grows in this region.”

In Albany, Governor Cuomo sounded the same positive note about jobs. “If we are creating jobs and bringing business here. If we're attracting people here, that is the locomotive that pulls the train. The best thing I can do to help mayors and county executives is to have that tax base that is thriving.”

- $5 million for Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation, a partnership between the University of Rochester and IBM, will make the region a leading center for high performance computing, strengthen R&D, and accelerate growth in the region's life sciences sector. State funding will be used to purchase high-speed computing equipment to create one of the most powerful, energy-efficient high performance computing facilities in the world.

Here the highlights of the plan:
- $5 million for equipment purchases at the recently completed Rochester Institute of Technology's Golisano Institute of Sustainability. This Institute will position RIT as an international leader in programs that embody the principles of sustainability in product development.

- $2 million in support of a small business revolving loan fund for the nine Finger Lakes counties. The Pathstone Finger Lakes Enterprise Fund will provide essential credit to microenterprise and small businesses, particularly in underserved rural and urban communities, accelerating economic growth and community development.

- $4 million to support the adaptive reuse of the Midtown Tower into mixed commercial, office, and residential space. This tower is one of the cornerstones of the City of Rochester's Midtown Redevelopment project which will revitalize the city center.

- $4 million to complete College Town, a mixed-use development located adjacent to the University of Rochester campus. The College Town project is a comprehensive plan to redevelop 16 acres in the City of Rochester into a vibrant neighborhood consisting of mixed-use development that will serve as a gateway to the City and the University of Rochester.

- $600,000 for Monroe Community College to purchase mobile training units for its program to upgrade skills of area residents. This Multiple Pathways to Middle Skills Jobs project will work in close coordination with a network of private, not-for-profit, and public sector organizations to provide hands-on training to K-12 students and displaced workers.

- $2.5 million for the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative to create an interconnected network of business support services and incubation facilities that spans all nine counties of the region.

- $500,000 for Genesee County's Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) project. State funding will support the necessary infrastructure improvements to better position the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions as a hub for the next generation of advanced manufacturing companies.

- $125,000 to accelerate the redevelopment of the former Army depot in Seneca County into the Seneca AgBio Green Energy Park. State funding will be used to renovate and equip the plant for the expansion of two tenants and also provide on-the-job training in advanced manufacturing and production operations of green energy, environmental sustainability and agricultural processing equipment, grain drying and waste processing.

- A spokesman for the Cuomo administration says there was not any request of funds directly for Eastman Business Park. Instead, the Regional Council supported specific businesses that are (or will be) tenants at the park. For example, NOHMS Technologies was awarded $2 million to help them manufacture lithium batteries at EBP. There are others as well.