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What you need to know for 03/23/2017

Capital Region council hoping economic plan wins money

Capital Region council hoping economic plan wins money

The Capital Region is looking to take home hundreds of millions of dollars Thursday as part of two c
Capital Region council hoping economic plan wins money
A proposed tree museum, the New York Arboretum, would be located to the right of the RPI nuclear reactor on the Alco site, as seen from Freemans Bridge in the town of Glenville on Tuesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

The Capital Region is looking to take home hundreds of millions of dollars Thursday as part of two competitions for state economic development funding.

The Regional Economic Development Council awards and the Upstate Revitalization Initiative awards will both be held Thursday morning at the Hart Theatre in Albany.

The Capital Region’s economic development council is competing against the state’s nine other regions for a portion of about $750 million and also vying against six upstate regions for $500 million.

New this year are the Upstate Revitalization Initiative awards. Seven regions are competing for $1.5 billion in state aid, with three regions to be chosen and awarded $500 million each over a period of five years.

The Capital Region’s plan for the URI awards centers around five “clusters” — high-tech, urban revitalization, entrepreneurship, transport and logistics, and higher education.

As part of the initiative, the region is looking to invest in the Port of Albany and the Port of Coeymans, and expand services provided by the Capital District Transportation Authority.

The overall URI plan is expected to create 40,000 jobs. Specifics on project plans and particular partners have not been disclosed.

The Mohawk Valley’s MV500 initiative would invest the $500 million in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries, agribusiness and tourism.

The funding is expected to spur $3.8 billion in private investment in the six counties of the Mohawk Valley, including Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie, with 3,000 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs in the first year and more than 17,000 new, high-paying jobs over the next 15 years.

Other contending regions in the competition, modeled after the Buffalo Billion Initiative, include the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country and Mid-Hudson.

The Regional Economic Development Council awards are in their fifth year. The state’s 10 regions are seeking a chunk of $750 million in state funding available as part of the competition.

proposed projects

One of the projects proposed in the Capital Region as part of the REDC awards is a museum of trees, or arboretum, for the Mohawk Harbor site in Schenectady, which is being developed by the Galesi Group into housing, hotels, office and retail, a harbor and a casino.

The New York Arboretum would cost $1.2 million. Mac Sudduth, executive director of miSci, the Museum of Innovation and Science, and Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors, are seeking $240,000 in funding for the project.

The arboretum would include as many as 450 trees of a wide variety of species. The exhibit would span the 60-acre brownfield site and provide people with information on the state’s tree history. The project is expected to attract 20,000 additional visitors and 6,000 students.

Other projects include $965,000 for renovation of the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, $750,000 for the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region and $91,000 for an ”American Acoustic” television series at Proctors.

Project applications seeking the most funding include $4 million for the Port of Albany’s construction of new big-lift operations, $2 million for rail extension at the Coeymans Industrial Park and Port, and $2.5 million for the NY CAP Research Alliance.

Among the Mohawk Valley economic development council’s “signature projects” for the REDC awards are a $15 million expansion of AGT Services in Amsterdam, the creation of an acid whey treatment facility in the Johnstown Industrial Park and funding for the rehabilitation of the Parrott House in Schoharie.

The council is also seeking funding for the proposed Global Village at Fulton-Montgomery Community College; investment in Gloversville’s Robison & Smith and Estee Commons; three Nathan Littauer Hospital projects in Gloversville, Perth and Fonda; and the relocation of Amsterdam’s Amtrak station.

In last year’s REDC awards, the Capital Region received $60 million in state aid for 93 projects. That’s compared with $83 million as a top performer in 2013 for 85 projects.

In the first two years of the competition, the region received the smallest funding amount, a combined $113 million.

As part of last year’s awards, $1.2 million was given to Highbridge Development of Schenectady and Prime Companies of Cohoes to transform several properties on lower State Street into 105 upscale apartments and 9,900 square feet of retail space.

The $20 million development, called the Robinson Block project, includes the site of the vacant Robinson lot, Olender Mattress building, BiMor Army & Navy Store and former Silver Diner lot. Demolition is currently underway.

Also, the city of Schenectady received $400,000 to reconstruct Liberty Park on State Street into Gateway Park. The two-phase project will reconfigure the park into a pedestrian-friendly green space with a plaza, performance space and other attractions.

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