The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council has made a strong case as it competes for a $25 million state award for capital investment.
The council has selected 24 Western New York projects as its regional priorities. This area is competing with three other regions in the state for one of two $25 million awards at stake in this round of funding.
The money would be game-changing for those projects as the council advances its strategic plan through investments in a number of key areas: workforce development, entrepreneurship, smart growth infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism.
The state's willingness to energize regional economies has opened an important window of opportunity for economic development. If funded, these projects would generate more than $170 million in economic activity and create or retain more than 900 direct and 2,600 indirect jobs.
The regional council's priority list shows shows a close attention to detail. The community development projects range from $186,000 for a 1.25-mile waterline extension in the Town of Wellsville to $450,000 to revitalize the downtown mixed-use commercial district and adjacent residential neighborhoods in Niagara Falls by attracting young adults through offers to help repay student loans.
Bigger projects include $4.8 million for the University at Buffalo's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics and $3.3 million for Alfred University to create an Advanced Materials Manufacturing and Training Center, in collaboration with UB.
The $25 million grants are part of the larger allocation of $220 million in capital and Excelsior tax credits the state has designated for regional strategic economic development plans and priority job-creating projects.
The work of the Western New York council was rewarded last year when its plan was judged one of the four best among the state's 10 regions. Those four regions are now competing for the two $25 million awards. The remaining regions will compete for three more $25 million awards. All 10 regions will also be eligible for up to $10 million each in Excelsior tax credits.
The priority projects are spread across the region and reflect a wide range of targets: community improvement, the arts and culture, health and sciences and recreation. The council has made a strong case for Western New York.