WXXI AM News

Local Leaders Celebrate Regional Economic Development Award

Dec 8, 2016

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Finger Lakes region was a top performer at this year’s Regional Economic Development Awards, receiving $80.5 million from the state.

Mayor Lovely Warren celebrated the award with co-chairs of the Finger Lakes Council Anne Kress and Danny Wegman Thursday evening.

Warren noted that while they are excited to use some of the money to create advanced technology and manufacturing jobs in the area, their focus is also on poverty reduction.

"It’s not just about the highly skilled, highly technical. We recognize that we have an issue with poverty in our community. And that we cannot be successful unless we focus on the most vulnerable among us."

Co-Chair of the Finger Lakes Council and President of Monroe Community College Anne Kress was confident the area would do well.

“The entire group in Albany saw how committed our region was, that we were really united for success. That we wanted economic opportunity to be available to every single resident throughout this region."

The just over $80 million will be spread across 97 projects in all 9 counties that the Finger Lakes Council represents. They cover a variety of work that are expected to create hundreds of jobs, including an agribusiness park in Livonia, food hub expansion in Wyoming county, and the Sibley Square renovations in Rochester.

But co-chair of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council Danny Wegman says work force development and training, is just as important as job creation.

"It won’t do us good to create the jobs if we don’t have the folks to fill them. And on the other hand, we can’t help those folks who are there in poverty if we don’t have the jobs either."

$750 million was split between 10 regions in the sixth annual awards ceremony.