Capital Region projects take home funding from governor’s economic awards event

Downtown Schenectady projects are among winners

Several Capital Region economic development projects reaped significant funding Thursday through the governor’s annual economic awards program.

The Capital Region Economic Development Council won $83.1 million — the second-highest amount handed out this year, behind the Mid-Hudson region. Regional projects, including a few in Schenectady, won funding as part of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council program, for which 10 regions compete for state money to support projects. 

The Capital Region and the Mohawk Valley councils were among five “top performers” to receive bonus funding for their projects. Top performers garnered upward of $80 million, while the other five councils’ awards were around $60 million.

On Thursday, at the Hart Theater in the Egg, Cuomo was joined by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky. In an awards show-style format, regional councils learned of their award amounts after a brief video displayed some of each region’s proposed projects.

“I like the competitive aspect of it,” Cuomo told reporters after the event.

The governor created 10 regional economic development councils in 2011. The councils are made up of local stakeholders from businesses, government and academia. After coming up with proposals, each region pitches the ideas to state decision-makers in a bid to win funding.

Thursday marked the sixth round of awards through the program; about $750 million was doled out among the 10 councils. In the previous five rounds, the Capital Region council received a combined total of $353.9 million in state funding.

In total, the Capital Region council, which represents Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties, had 116 projects earn funding.

The Mill Artisan District, a project that would renovate seven buildings on lower State Street and turn the property into a hub of housing, studios and office space, was among the Schenectady projects to receive funding. The project cost is listed at $14.1 million, and it received $2.325 million from the state.

Another winner was the Mohawk Harbor Visitor Center, which will include the construction of a walking trail, a visitors center with public restrooms and a boat dock. The project garnered $150,000 in state funds. 

Schenectady County Community College, the Glenville Business Park and others received varying levels of funding.

“These grant awards will help us leverage private funding to create jobs and bring even more excitement to Schenectady County,” said Anthony Jasenski, chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature, in a prepared statement.

Saratoga County garnered funding for 10 projects, including an effort to incorporate transit improvements at the corner of Maple and Lake avenues in Saratoga Springs. In Ballston, $200,000 will go toward establishing a Microenterprise program in the town.

The Mohawk Valley region, which includes Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, garnered $81.9 million for 88 projects. 

In Fulton County, the Gloversville Public Library earned a $500,000 grant that will be used to improve the library’s infrastructure. In addition, the Nathan Littauer Nursing Home received $46,000 to upgrade to a more modern primary care facility.

Montgomery County had several projects receive funding, including $85,000 that will go toward analysis of the former Beechnut plant in Canajoharie.

Elsewhere, the City of Amsterdam received $62,000 for the creation of the John Sampone Senior Memorial Park, a project that has been in the works for more than 10 years on the city’s south side.

Schoharie County had 11 projects funded, with most of them focused on infrastructure. For example, the villages of Cobleskill and Richmondville will use funding for improvements to their water systems, while the Village of Schoharie will use a nearly $400,000 grant to improve access to the Schoharie Creek. 

A full list of award amounts and project details can be viewed here.

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