Southern Tier, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Councils recognized for 'best plans'

Thomas F. O'Mara

December 19, 2012

Albany, N.Y., December 19—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) applauded today’s announcement that the Southern Tier region will be awarded $91.1 million and the Finger Lakes region $96.2 million under the second round of funding through the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils initiative.

O’Mara noted that the Southern Tier and Fingers Lakes each were recognized as a “Best Plan Awardee” in this year’s competition.

A total of $738 million in economic development awards to support 725 specific regional projects statewide were announced today in Albany following a report from the states’s Strategic Plan Review Committee, which analyzed and ranked the strategic blueprints for each of the 10 regions statewide that competed for this second round of state economic development aid.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, "For the second year in a row, the Regional Councils have been on the forefront of rebuilding New York State's economy. For too many years, top-down economic development policies have failed communities across the state and not truly invested in the unique resources and strengths of each of New York's regions. Now a new, bottom-up approach is in place that brings local communities together to chart their own economic destiny. The second round of Regional Economic Development Council awards will deliver funding for critical projects and investments in communities across our state, helping put New Yorkers back to work and rebuilding our economy."

O’Mara said, “The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions stand out this year and my gratitude goes out to the many regional leaders who have worked long and hard over the past two years to assess our regional strengths and weaknesses, identify specific economic priorities, and put in place short- and long-term strategies to keep us moving toward a stronger and more secure economic future.  I’m confident these regional public-private partnerships will keep providing the economic leadership we need in this tough economy and build on these new economic foundations so that our employers and our workers can compete with anyone, anywhere for the jobs of the future and across-the-board economic growth."

Highlights for the Southern Tier Regional Council, which received $91.1 million for 62 projects, include:

> $3 million for the expansion of Corning Incorporated’s manufacturing facility in the Town of Erwin;

> $2.5 million for the Southern Tier Telemedicine and Mobile Health Care Technology Fund Initiative;

> $500,000 to Cornell University for the development of a Food Processing and Development Lab, which will provide farmers and other small businesses with access to small scale production area that can transform raw materials into packaged products such as yogurt, beverages, cheese, etc.;

> $2.5 million for the continuation of Southern Tier Community Revitalization Program;

> $1.8 million for the City of Ithaca to rehabilitate and reconstruct the deteriorated surface of the three-block Ithaca Commons and the replacement and upgrades of all of the underground utilities;

> $1.5 million for the continuation of Southern Tier Infrastructure Fund to support the development of Shovel Ready Sites;

> $300,000 for Schuyler County, in partnership with the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, Schuyler County IDA, the Village of Watkins Glen and the Village of Montour Falls, will conduct planning and preliminary engineering and environmental investigation to decommission the Watkins Glen and the Montour Falls Waste Water Treatment Plants and consolidate the two systems into a state-of-the-art “Green” Waste Water Treatment Plants located south of Glen Creek in Watkins Glen;

> $110,365 for the Near West Side Neighborhood Association (Chemung County) to assist the association's 355 Davis Street restoration project;

> $75,290 for the city of Ithaca to complete the first phase of the Cascadilla Boathouse restoration and rehabilitation;

> $350,000 for Cornell University to construct a research-grade greenhouse;

> $250,000 for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance Renovation Project;

> $344,000 for the Emerson Complex Redevelopment Project (Tompkins County);

> $40,500 for the Ithaca-Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote the Finger Lakes Beer Trail and the many microbreweries throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions;

> $150,000 for the city of Elmira to extend the existing 2.3-mile multi-use Lackawanna Trail to create the Chemung River regional trail network as outlined in the Chemung River Trail Comprehensive Master Plan;

> $250,000 for the Corning Gaffer District's Market Street Revitalization Project;

> $600,000 for the town of Prattsburgh Water District Improvements Project;

> $134,600 to the town of Wayne to advance the Keuka Lake Watershed Land Use Planning Guide;

> $200,000 for Tompkins County organics material management and to make expand its food waste composting facility;

> $600,000 for the redevelopment of Watkins Brewery;

> $150,000 for the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development to undertake Franklin Street redevelopment in the village of Watkins Glen; and

> $200,000 for Southern Tier Economic Growth to undertake West Water Street housing improvements in the city of Elmira.

Highlights for the Finger Lakes Regional Council, which received $96.2 million for 76 projects, include:

> $2 million in support of a small business revolving loan fund for the nine Finger Lakes counties. The Pathstone Finger Lakes Enterprise Fund will provide essential credit to microenterprise and small businesses, particularly in underserved rural and urban communities, accelerating economic growth and community development;

> $2.5 million for the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative to create an interconnected network of business support services and incubation facilities that spans all nine counties of the region;

> $500,000 for Genesee County’s Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) project. State funding will support the necessary infrastructure improvements to better position the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions as a hub for the next generation of advanced manufacturing companies;

> $200,000 for the Keuka Housing Council's Dundee Revitalization Program;

> $125,000 for the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association;

> $490,000 for the Village of Penn Yan for Keuka Lake Waterfront Development;

> $578,000 for the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum to build a new acquarium destination, enhance its history of wine making presentation and offer a range of additional, regionally unique educational programming; and

> $57,500 for the town of Jerusalem Wastewater Engineering Study and Waterfront Revitalization Strategy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature established New York's 10 regional economic development councils as part of the 2011-2012 state budget.  The councils are aimed at putting in place a more locally based approach for distributing state economic development aid and guide the development of local economic development strategies that will compete for state assistance. The first round of funding was awarded last December.  

Read more on today’s specific regional project awards at

O’Mara’s 53rd Senate District includes Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and part of Tompkins County, all of which fall under the Southern Tier Regional Council, and Yates County, which is included in the Finger Lakes Regional Council.

Watch a rebroadcast of today's awards ceremony.