Months of abstract talk and planning by the Capital Region Economic Development Council is drawing closer to actual projects.
The two dozen projects highlighted in the more than 90-page strategic plan released on Monday represent the type of economic development ideas the council wants to pursue and in some cases are actual ideas seeking funding or tax breaks. The strategic plan is the council’s entry to win $25 million in funding and $15 million in tax incentives from a $200 million pot that 10 councils are after.
One of the projects was a plan from Northeast Parent & Child Society to advance their job development goals.
“It is something that we have been working on for quite a while,” said Northeast spokesman Eugene White; the idea would serve Schenectady, Troy and Albany.
White said they’re looking for $3.9 million that would replace a federal grant and go toward employment training for high school seniors and recent high school graduates in emerging technologies, an area of business that the council feels is an existing strength of the region.
“There is unprecedented demand for these new employers. The demand is huge and the supply is not going to be there,” White said.
He argued that Northeast already has a proven success record in this model of training, which produces young adults who make valuable contributions to a community’s tax base and social structure. If this investment is targeted, it would be doled out over a two year period and is designed to help 700 people.
In Saratoga County, the Saratoga County Economic Development Corporation and Amkor, a chip-related manufacturing company, teamed up on a proposed $122 million project. Based on the strategic plan the project hinges on state and local economic development incentive packages.
Dennis Brobston, president of the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation, said that Amkor is the type of company the Council wants to encourage to come to the region. He said it wasn’t necessarily seeking funds through the council, but they were referencing it as a sign of potential.
Because of a non-disclosure agreement Brobston and a representative from Amkor could not talk about any specifics of the plan.
Also on the list is a plan to develop properties in Schenectady County that General Electric could expand into without years of red tape.
“It’s a simple concept,” said Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen. “It’s too early to speculate about the size of investment that could be realized, but the track record is there. This is a proven plan.”
He said the proposal copies the approach they’ve used in downtown Schenectady, such as at the former ALCO site. They essentially move a property through all the reviews and approvals needed to develop it, so companies looking to invest have a “shovel ready” option. The proposal includes at request for $250,000, which Gillen said would pay for the entire process.
“We want to be ready, in case GE wants to look at Schenectady for development,” he said.
Gillen said the investment wouldn’t go to waste if GE chose not to take advantage of this program and he noted that the company hasn’t made any commitments. He said if GE passed on a property, it would still be available to any other interested company, which could include a GE or GlobalFoundries supplier.
“You want to be ready with a site that is pre-approved,” Gillen said.
Highlighted projects in the strategic plan also included waterfront development in Schenectady County and the Corinth Paper Mill Redevelopment.
The next step in the economic development process is for a statewide strategic plan review committee to assess the 10 plans that were submitted.
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