There were several big winners amongst the state’s Regional Empire Development Council, as five walked away with more than $80 million each, during the third annual set of awards announced Wednesday.
At an event like this, everybody is a winner, or so Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quick to point out in his opening remarks. Long Island came out on top with $83 million toward projects like the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Stony Brook Innovation and Discovery Center. It was the North Country which managed the only hat-trick, though, having won the "Top Performer" honor for the third year in a row.
Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the North Country Regional Council, says supporting development by region has allowed them to thrive in ways they haven’t before.
“Past pronouncements by the state that these two or three sectors are our priority whether or not they happen to be your best opportunity or not, this region by region approach is something we had advocated for years,” Douglas said.
The North Country’s $81.3 million will go towards developing the Plattsburgh International Airport, destination hotels and supporting several small biotech firms.
State Sen. Joe Griffo, who represents parts of Mohawk Valley, credits the nanotech industry, which drove the economic development in both the Capital and Mohawk Valley regions, who both came away with around $82 million.
“This synergy of a corridor developing is going to be very important and significant," Griffo said. "Much as you saw in the Silicon Valley in California, you have the opportunity on I-90 right now between the Mohawk Valley and the Capital District.”
Not every region was a "top performer" but Empire State Development Corporation President and CEO Ken Adams says the real goal is to fund the best projects in a highly competitive process.
“The success of regional councils isn’t based on the amount of money allocated, it’s based on the economic development effectiveness of the projects funded,” Adams said.
Over the last three years, all ten regions have received comparable amounts of state money.
To see how each region performed, click here.