The Mohawk Valley won a top award at New York's annual regional economic development council ceremony last week, which comes with $85.5 million.
The state will fund 101 economic development projects in the Mohawk Valley, ranging from helping businesses purchase new equipment or expand their operations to purchasing land and renovating buildings to make way for new businesses. Co-chair of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Dustin Swanger says he's particularly excited about a $400,000 grant to the Masonic Medical Research lab in Utica.
"The technology that they are exploring and working with for medicine and research was just amazing," Swanger said. "It was really a very impressive demonstration when we took the state officials into that lab and showed them the things that are happening in Utica."
Other projects include $397,511 for a renovation of the Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute's facade, $248,000 for a new space for the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and $653,400 for a new welcome center and primate building at the Utica Zoo.
A chunk of the money will go toward infrastructure projects, like sewer system upgrades and replacing electric lines. Swanger says some people criticize the use of these economic development dollars for infrastructure improvements, but he says it keeps an area competitive.
"If you don’t have an infrastructure to support their work, if you don’t have good water, solid wastewater, roads, high-speed internet - you’re not going to attract high-tech industries and you're not going to keep the industries that you have," he said.