Joined by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Buffalo officials spent Tuesday showing off some of the fruits of the so-called "Buffalo Billion" to delegates from seven Upstate New York regions, who hope they may soon join Buffalo in an economic renaissance boosted by big bucks from Albany.
The Upstate Revitalization Conference kicked off inside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center with remarks from Hochul, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Lt. Gov. Hochul presented a video to visitors in Tuesday morning's opening remarks. The video ended with the display of the phrase: "This is the new Buffalo. What can your region do?" "It's a hopeful message," said Hochul. "It's a chance to show off a little bit, but also as a representative of the entire State of New York, to tell other regions that are feeling left behind and are still waiting for their economic recovery that this competition - the Upstate Revitalization Initiative - is an opportunity for three of seven regions to win $500 million."
Each region reviewed their plans at the conference.
The Co-Chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Joel Seligman, says the Finger Lakes application will focus not just on creating jobs and increasing regional wealth, but also lifting residents out of poverty.
He says they've been focusing on innovating new ideas for emerging industry in the area.
"The issue is not historical, and looking backwards at the data, the issue is looking forward. And here the interviews, here the engagement with stakeholders has been absolutely vital," Seligman told the gathering.
Applications for the state funding are due in October.