Upstate Revitalization Initiative Winners Receive Billions in Funding

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Governor Cuomo announced last week that $2.25 billion in economic and community development funding has been awarded to several regions across Upstate New York. This funding is part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) andRegional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards to create jobs, improve the quality of life and grow Upstate’s economy.

The Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Central New York were the communities chosen for the URI “Best Plan Awardees.” These regions will now receive $500 million each over the next five years in $100 million increments to help transform their local economies.

[Awards Booklet] 2015 Regional Economic Develop Council Awards

“This year’s round of awards demonstrates the progress that has been made in changing the trajectory of our economy and continues our commitment to investing in the future of New York State,” said Governor Cuomo.

“Economic development is more than just dollars and cents – it’s about restoring hope and optimism to communities yearning for a brighter future,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils.

Here are the highlights of the three URI “Best Plan Awardees” that will receive $500 million over five years:

Finger Lakes Forward - Upstate Revitalization InitiativeFinger Lakes Forward – The Finger Lake Region’s URI Plan consists of three industry clusters: Optics, Photonics and Imaging; Agriculture and Food Production; and Next Generation Manufacturing and Technology.

The region’s top project is the Sibley Building Phase II, a renovation that includes middle-income apartments, office and retail space, underground parking and an urban farmers’ market.

“This is huge,” said Joel Seligman, University of Rochester President and Co-Chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. “It gives us a chance to jumpstart the revitalization of Rochester.”

As part of their URI Plan, startup projects for the Finger Lakes could include more pitch competitions, and money towards a Delaware-based startup called AquaTerRen, looking to create a hydroponic salmon fishery at the Eastman Business Park.

Southern Tier's Advanced Economy of the Future - Upstate Revitalization InitativeSouthern Tier’s Advanced Economy of the Future – The URI Plan for the Southern Tier will create more than 10,200 jobs and have an overall impact of $3.4 billion over the next five years. It focuses on building the Greater Binghamton Innovation Ecosystem, investing in the advanced manufacturing industry and promoting the Southern Tier’s innovative culture.

“It’s going to have a huge impact in the Southern Tier and the people that live there,” said New York State 52nd District Senator Fred Akshar. “It is going to be transformative in nature. For far too long, the Southern Tier has struggled to make ends meet and really forge that path to prosperity.”

A top project includes renovating a 93,000 square-foot historic building to become the central anchor of the new Southern Tier Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Park.


CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization InitiativeCNY Rising – Strategic initiatives for Central New Yorkinclude drone research and development, indoor farms, local government modernization and a global manufacturing and logistics hub.

“We talked to more than 1,800 people throughout the region throughout the process,” said CenterState CEO President Robert Simpson. “We learned what they wanted from us and I think we delivered that. More importantly, we delivered real projects with real partners and real jobs.”

Central New York has been a top performer in the competition since 2011, receiving more funds than any in the state at $344 million. Over the next five years, CNY Rising’s components will create nearly 6,000 jobs, directly impacting the continued economic transformation seen across the 12-county region.

The four Upstate regions not selected as URI “Best Plan Awardees” will also receive $50 million each to fund priority projects. They include the Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District and Mid-Hudson Valley. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says this is more money than top performing regions received last year. Here’s a full list of the 2015 REDC awards.

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Topics: Upstate Venture Connect, Upstate New York