Finger Lakes Awarded $500 Million In State Econ. Development Money

Dec 10, 2015

The Finger Lakes Region has received one of the top three awards in the competition for state economic development money, part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

That means the Finger Lakes region, including Rochester, will receive $500 million over five years. The announcement was made in Albany by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials.

Local leaders have been focusing on certain industry clusters for the plan they put together for the money, including optics, photonics & imaging; agriculture and food production; and next generation manufacturing.

The Southern Tier  and the Central NY Regions were the other 2 winners of the top awards, and will also receive $500 million.

University of Rochester President and CEO Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman, co-chairs of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, issued the following statement:

"We are deeply grateful to the Governor and New York State Legislature for their unprecedented commitment to revive the upstate economy and help confront the roots of poverty in our region.   The URI award represents a catalytic multi-year commitment to accelerate economic growth at a speed and on a scale previously unimaginable and extend opportunity to more of our region’s residents.  

Our region is proud of what we have achieved to date.  With state support, Eastman Business Park is on track to becoming a global center for technological innovation and the STAMP site in Genesee County will soon be transformed into a key component in New York State’s next-generation manufacturing infrastructure.  State investments have also played a critical role in the revitalization of downtown Rochester, and new developments at College Town, CityGate, and in Geneva, Canandaigua, and Penn Yan. 

These new funds will enable our region to build upon this momentum by making strategic investments in core job drivers, strengthen our region’s quality of life, and – in collaboration with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and the Governor’s Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force – undertake an historic effort to lift more families and communities out of poverty. "

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, a Democrat from  Irondequoit said,  "The unprecedented funding made available through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative will significantly bolster our efforts to secure a brighter economic future for Rochester and all of the Finger Lakes Region by creating thousands of new jobs and potentially leveraging billions in new investments. "

State Senator Joe Robach, a Republican from Greece, said , "The name of the game is creating jobs, and this will help our region do just that by bolstering new technology, investing in the University of Rochester, RIT and other local colleges and universities, and putting resources into our skilled and trained workforce."

State Senator Rich Funke, a Republican from Perinton said that "Rochester deserves its fair share. This is a good start. Now it’s time to ensure these dollars do what we need them to do most, and that’s create jobs and opportunity right here in our community."

Assemblyman Harry Bronson, a Democrat from Rochester, said that "From poverty to prosperity, this award winning plan will have a significant impact on our region and will change the future for our families."  

Fran Weisberg , CEO of the United Way of Greater Rochester says that agency is "proud that the FLREDC acknowledged the importance of combating poverty in our community and included the work of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) at United Way as a key pillar of the winning application."

Story developing..stay tuned for details on WXXI throughout the day and online at wxxinews.org