New York funds $2.25 billion in economic and community development

ALBANY, N.Y. — The state of New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the Regional Economic Development Council initiative and the Upstate Revitalization Initiative has awarded $2.25 billion in economic and community development funding.

“Over the past five years, the Regional Councils have become an integral part of generating economic opportunity in communities statewide,” Cuomo said. “By removing barriers to growth, controlling spending and cutting taxes, we have laid the groundwork for our Regional Councils to pursue projects in key industries that have turned their communities into local economic engines. This year’s round of awards demonstrates the progress that has been made in changing the trajectory of our economy and continues our commitment to investing in the future of New York State.”

A centerpiece of the governor’s strategy to jump start the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were established in 2011 to transform the state’s approach to economic development from a top-down model to one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of New York State, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.

This year, the 10 Regional Councils once again competed for funding and assistance from up to $750 million in state economic development resources as part of Round V of the REDC competition. Additionally, the governor established a new competition in 2015 – the Upstate Revitalization Initiative – to award a total of $1.5 billion to three regions, which will help to transform local economies by providing $500 million over the next five years to support projects and strategies that create jobs, strengthen and diversify economies, and generate economic opportunity within the region. Of the state’s 10 regions, seven were eligible for the URI competition: Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District, and Mid-Hudson.

Since 2011, the Regional Council process has awarded nearly $3 billion to more than 3,100 job creation and community development projects across the state, supporting the creation or retention of more than 150,000 jobs.

On April 30, 2015, Cuomo launched REDC Round V and the URI competition, and introduced several new components to the Regional Council initiative, including the selection of a regional industry cluster to focus on strengthening and growing. This year’s REDC competition focused on workforce development, furthering regional Global NY strategies, implementing strategic plans, identifying regional industry clusters, and keeping the project pipeline full, among other ongoing state priorities and regional initiatives. Together with the significant impact the URI funding will have on Upstate, the new components added to the Regional Councils will help keep New York at the forefront of the global economy, increase economic opportunities for New Yorkers, and strengthen and diversify regional economics.

After the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) period closed on July 31, members of the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), which is composed of State agency commissioners and policy experts, traveled to each of the 10 regions to see firsthand the REDCs progress implementing the strategies and goals outlined in their plans. Then, in late October, members from the 10 Regional Councils traveled to Albany to make in-person presentations of their proposals directly to the SIAT, which reviews the progress being made on projects that have previously received state funding, assesses the regions’ strategic plan implementations and proposals for funding this year, and provides recommendations for the regional awards in 2015.

Highlights of the three URI “Best Plan Awardees” and the 1,062 projects across the state receiving awards through the fifth round of the REDC competition and URI can be found here.

Source: State of New York


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Noah Milligan

Noah Milligan works as a banker by day, specializing in financing commercial real estate and loan workouts on a national platform. By night, he has delusions of becoming the next Cormac McCarthy. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Empty Sink Publishing, Ridi...