Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative has launched with a focus on building back better in a post-pandemic world. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which includes the Rochester area, will compete for a share of more than $750 million in economic development resources.
So far, the Finger Lakes REDC has been awarded $721 million for 950 projects, the second highest dollar amount statewide. The Long Island REDC has received $727 million to date, for fewer projects—totaling 885. The competition was canceled in 2020.
Some examples of the Finger Lakes region’s projects include efforts in Monroe County such as the Rochester Public Market, the Sibley Building and the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, among many others, a 2019 progress report shows. Ontario County got funds for efforts such as a new manufacturing building at Cornell Agriculture Technology Park while Genesee County’s LeRoy Food and Technology Park received assistance from the initiative. Several other projects in Livingston, Orleans, Seneca and Yates counties also got a boost. Monroe County had the largest number of projects.
“We’re announcing a new decade of the Regional Economic Development Councils so that regions all across the state can plan their own economic rebirth and come up with their own smart and daring plans to rebuild, and New York State will fund it,” says Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who spoke about the new round at an event at the Javits Center in New York City on Tuesday. “We’ve done this before and it’s worked tremendously well, but it’s more important this year than ever before because the stakes are higher this year than ever before.”
The Consolidated Funding Application opened May 10, enabling businesses, municipalities, nonprofits and the public to begin applying for assistance from dozens of state programs for job-creation and community development projects, state officials say. The deadline for applications is July 30 at 4 p.m.
The current round has core capital and tax-credit funding—totaling $525 million—which will be combined with state agency programs. Resources from state agencies will be available to support community revitalization and business growth in line with existing REDC strategic plans through the application process, officials say. In this round, projects could also tap $150 million in grant funds from Empire State Development on a continuous and competitive basis. Each region’s projects will also be eligible for a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.
Over the last decade more than $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8,300 projects that focused on job creation and community development aligned with each region’s plans. Those plans expect to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs statewide, officials say.
In 2011, Cuomo established 10 regional councils as part of the REDC initiative. They were tasked with defining long-term plans for economic growth. Formed as public-private partnerships, these councils have members from business, academia and non-governmental organizations.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.