REDC’s Presenting Proposals For 2016 Grants
New York’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils are presenting their 2016 proposals to the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team this week. It’s the first part of the process that will lead to $750 million in development grants being awarded across the state.
This is the sixth round of the Regional Economic Development Council competitive grant process. Five Top Performers will receive up to $25 million in Empire State Development Capital Grant funding. The remaining five regions will get up to $10 million. In addition, each area is eligible to receive $15 million in tax credits to attract and enhance businesses.
Each regional council has 30 minutes to give an overview of their grant request followed by questions from the panel.
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council opened with a video to introduce their theme: Community. It’s something that co-chair Garry Douglas says has been woven through all their presentations. “Our vision is still working about communities, about aerospace, transit equipment, defense, biotech, energy and manufacturing. Sectors that we're looking to develop across the region, leveraging our gateway to Canada, investing in community development in ways that expands opportunities, activating tourism by investments in destination development particularly in communities in the Thousand Islands and Adirondacks, investment agriculture particularly value added and creation of the greenest energy economy in the state. Those remain the signature themes of all of our strategies.”
Since the REDC grants began in 2011 the North County has funded 402 projects totaling $423.1 million. North Country Regional Economic Development Council co-chair and Clarkson University President Tony Collins says they have been successful across the vast region because they target community-by-community rather than focusing on one large project. “When you think of the 30 priority projects that we’re suggesting in our round you’ll see the geographic coverage. You'll see that all of these are connected to our strategic themes and also connected to the development of our communities. It's cohesive. We’re spreading the wealth and it's driving our economy.”
The panel included an update on the Governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant that was presented to Plattsburgh earlier this year. Mayor James Calnon noted that a community profile has been completed along with strategies and goals. “Our community engagement hits high gear starting this week and we of course are doing all of these things based on the plan that's already in place with the Regional Economic Development Council. We recognize that downtown Plattsburgh is a huge part of the overall industrial cluster in there and while we are regional economic center we have a limited downtown workforce and so we really need to focus our attention on getting more housing downtown, getting more small businesses downtown and that will really define what we end up with in the coming year.”
Tony Collins noted that as Plattsburgh takes advantage of the revitalization funds, downtowns across the region are seeking similar opportunities. “If we can get Plattsburgh to be revitalized we think we’ve got the model of going through rural areas. We're doing that in small ways. Saranac Lake: the revitalization of the Trudeau Institute. Lake Placid and Wilmington, Lowville, Lewis County, the first business park in that county, Ogdensburg, a major upgrade to the airport. A long list of them.”
The Mid-Hudson and Mohawk Valley were among the five Regional Economic Development Councils that presented their plans on Tuesday. The remaining five scheduled to present on Wednesday included Central New York and the Capital Region. A link to the webstream of the presentations is available here.