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Capital Region Economic Development Council Bus Tour

State officials joined economic developers and company CEO's on a Wednesday bus tour of some of the Capital Region's current economic development projects.

The day trip via CDTA began at Troy's Capital Roots community garden and ended across the Hudson in Albany with a look at downtown revitalization efforts.  Why a bus tour?  New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales:   "We wanna see the results of the investments that the state has made in economic development through the REDC. And we are very impressed. And I can tell you, we are not just impressed by this region, but I've been in many other regions over the last several weeks, and we're beginning to see the fruits of Governor Cuomo's investments in economic development. They're everywhere."  

Perales, impressed by what he saw during the road trip, says people today are optimistic that there will be jobs and that the economy will be much stronger in the near future.   "Certainly the high tech stuff is always very impressive. But I was even impressed by the community gardens and the fact that you've got people investing in a poor community, doing what is being done all over this country, which is focusing on produce, fresh produce, getting it 'from farm to table,' as the expression goes, I think this is gonna make a tremendous difference, not just in that community, but the fact that investments are being made in that area."

In 2011, Governor Cuomo created 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. Hundreds of millions of dollars already have been doled out for hundreds of projects. The bus tour took in a sample of local projects. The junket included stops at construction sites including Albany's Park South neighborhood redevelopment as well as stops to meet with the mayors of Albany and Troy. The focus was on what the Capital Region Economic Development Council says is progress being made in restoration and redevelopment.  In essence, the council demonstrated how it's spending economic development dollars, in hopes of reaping even more cash come December's fourth annual awards.

Chief Executive Officer and President of The New York State Urban Development Corporation Howard Zemsky deemed everything he saw as a "holistic" approach to economic development.    "So you everything from putting fresh food where there are food deserts, you see community development, you see revitalization of downtown, you see hospitality, you see private sector investment, you see workforce development, all of those components are important if you're gonna put together a robust economic development strategy. So I think what we saw today is reflective of what the governor has really wanted to see and has envisioned from the get-go, which a very strategic, inclusive robust strategies to move the entire region forward, and to move a broad sector of community board. So you see a lot of initiative that allow people from all income strata to participate in the economic growth that we're seeing here in the Capital District, but in all the districts throughout the state."

And there's money in the pipeline to fund more projects, if you win the competition. A new Upstate Revitalization Initiative will award three grants of $500 million to be paid out over five years to three regions north of New York City, Buffalo excluded.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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