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Score one for the Capital Region

By Justin Mason
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New York's Capital Region landed $82.8 million from the state's Regional Economic Development awards today, taking just over 11 percent of the total $715.9 million pot. The award was the most the area has ever received from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's initiative and trumped what every other region got aside from the $83 million received by Long Island --an area still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

“The Regional Councils were empowered to change the face of economic development in their communities and they have accomplished just that," Cuomo said. "This third round of awards continues the State’s commitment to these creative and groundbreaking plans and recognizes the immense progress that has already been made in revitalizing our economy and putting New Yorkers back to work.”

The awards are welcome news to a riverfront development slated for Schenectady. The redevelopment of the former American Locomotive Co. site got a $5 million leg up from the funding to transform the industrial wasteland into an economically vibrant, mixed-use waterfront community. The development is "expected to support significant job creation and will attract and retain young professionals and families to the region," according to the Cuomo administration.

Other highlights of the Capital Region award include:

· $5,000,000 to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) to support continued growth. CNSE will establish a Digital Data Open-Innovation Training Center (DO-IT Center) for workforce training, a SMWBE Business Enterprises business center for software development, a data operations center, and a smart city operations training & development lab.

· $2,500,000 to support the revitalization of Park South in the City of Albany. The project includes construction of a mixed use and medical offices building, housing units, and a parking garage in collaboration with Albany Medical Center.

· $1,000,000 for mixed use redevelopment in downtown Troy that includes renovation of a 35-unit building, the construction of a modern walkway on the Hudson River, rehab parking and infrastructure.

· $100,000 to NYSARC Inc, Warren, Washington and Albany Counties Chapter to fit up a distribution center and to provide training of staff and consumers at two locations in Warren County and Albany County.

Freshman state Assemblyman Angelo Sanatabarbara praised the funding, offering it as evidence the area is prime for economic development.

"I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – our area has the resources, the infrastructure, the high-quality workforce and the diverse industry sectors that make it a great place to do business and raise a family," he said in a statement. "The funding awarded will allow our region to capitalize our strengths and allow businesses to create and retain good-paying jobs."

Though the awards have always delivered tens of millions of dollars in project funding, the Capital Region has traditionally gotten a much smaller award. Last year, 84 projects were awarded $50.3 million for 84 projects. And in 2011, the region took $62.7 million for 88 projects.

This year, however, the Capital Region was dubbed a "top performer" and was rewarded as such. Their neighbor to the west also got rewarded handsomely. The Mohawk Valley region was awarded $82.4 million for projects.

Ten councils made up of business, education and community leaders competed in the third round of the Gov. Cuomo initiative, designed to create jobs and boost economic development throughout the state's diverse regions. This year, all ten regions competed against each other for funding. The competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies.

James J. Barba, president and CEO of the Albany Medical Center, and Robert J. Jones, president of the University at Albany, co-chaired the Capital Region's council.

 
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