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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced early in his term that he'd be creating a set of "regional economic councils" to build plans for funding economic development across New York, from the ground up.In the summer of 2011 he finally announced some of the details of the program, to be led by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy. The ten councils each have dozens of members, and are charged with gathering input from the public and business leaders, and creating a plan by November 14. Those plans will be pitted against each other for a pot of $1 billion in grants, incentives, and tax relief from various state agencies. The winners will get more funding, the losers will get less.But other details - like whether funding will be available past the initial term, and who will serve on the board that decides who wins and who loses - have not been released.The Innovation Trail is looking for your feedback about what your regional economic priorities are, and what you want your community to look like once the councils have completed their task.

Regional councils roll out projects for round two

Flush with hundreds of Consolidated Funding Applications from businesses seeking state money, New York's 10 regional councils are in a rush to include some of those ideas in their five-year economic plans due Nov. 14.
Courtesy photo
Empire State Development
Flush with hundreds of Consolidated Funding Applications from businesses seeking state money, New York's 10 regional councils are in a rush to include some of those ideas in their five-year economic plans due Nov. 14.

The ten regional economic development councils were back at it this week in their efforts to bring home as big a slice of three-quarters of a billion dollar state funding pie as possible.

The councils released their progress reports and a new list of projects they think deserve cash in order to spur economic development and job creation in their regions.

Last July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the councils and a mad dash to the finish line ensued.

In December, the governor held a ceremony to divvy up $785.5 million to the councils for the first round of funding. The biggest winners at that time were Western and Central New York, plus Long Island and the North Country, which won "Best Plan" distinctions.

For the 2012 edition, a little less, (about $762 million) is on the table. Most of upstate's regions are pitching between 20 and 35 priority projects, but the Finger Lakes seems to be taking it slow - putting forward just 12 projects.

Some of the highlights, by region:

Western New York - 24 projects, $25.5 million

  • $3.3 million for an integrated manufacturing center at Alfred University
  • $4.8 million for the University of Buffalo materials informatics Center of Excellence
  • $1.5 million for a wood fuel facility in Niagara Falls

Finger Lakes - 12 projects, $28.5 million

  • $6.1 million for the Golisano Institute of Sustainability at RIT
  • $4 million for Rochester's Midtown Tower
  • $4 million to create a "college town" at the University of Rochester

Central New York - 34 projects, $28.6 million

  • $1 million for the International Boxing Hall of Fame
  • $1 million for redevelopment of Syracuse's Kennedy Square
  • $1.5 million of redevelopment of Syracuse's Inner Harbor
  • $2 million for the Central New York Raceway Park

Southern Tier - 24 projects, $33.1 million

  • $7 million for a high-tech incubator at Binghamton University
  • $4 million for the Ithaca Commons project
  • $3.3 million for upgrades at Endicott Interconnect
  • $1.2 million to convert the Watkins Brewery into townhouses

North Country - 21 projects, (dollar amounts not given)

  • Expansion of Bombardier facility in Plattsburgh
  • ReEnergy's conversion of a coal plant to biomass near Fort Drum
  • Processing plant for Adirondack Meat Company in Ticonderoga

Mohawk Valley - 32 projects, $25 million

  • $1 million for Utica Memorial Auditorium
  • $914,000 for Northeast Cyber Forensics Center
  • $1 million for Burrows Paper
  • $2.5 million for a Living Learning Health Science Center

Capital Region - 33 projects, $39.3 million

  • $1.1 million for Mohawk Lifts upgrades
  • $1 million for a biomass facility in Watervliet
  • $2.5 million for revitalization of Hudson Ave. in Glens Falls
  • $1.7 million for DeLaets Landing waterfront project in Rensselaer
  • $5 million for the New York Capital Research Alliance

The full progress reports and lists of round two projects can be read here.

State officials, along with Gov. Cuomo, are scheduled to visit each region and review the projects starting in early October. Winners will be announced in the fall, but no date has been set.

All of the Innovation Trail's reporting on the regional councils can be found here.

You can follow reporter Ryan Delaney on Twitter @RyanWRVO

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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