Officials in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region are learning which economic development projects will get a boost from state aid dollars in the coming years.
As it has over the last nine years, New York state officials are dividing a pot of money for economic development projects among ten regions around the state.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement saying that more than $761 million in economic and community development funding is being awarded through the regional competition.
The Rochester area will get $64.4 million dollars, not as much as last year when it received more than $86 million.
But local officials still seem pleased by the funding which they say will help start or continue a number of important projects.
More than $3.6 million is earmarked for local arts and cultural organizations, including venues like Parcel 5 in Downtown Rochester, the Susan B. Anthony House, the George Eastman Museum and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, says these kinds of arts projects are important to the region’s development.
“When you look at the role the arts play in the quality of life as well as in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the fact that creativity also lends itself to innovation, so it is all part of the live, work, play type of environment we want to build,” Hurlbutt said.
Bob Duffy, former Lieutenant Governor, who is now president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and co-chairs the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, says this state aid has also helped create a lot of jobs over the nine years the program has been around.
“And a lot of the projects that you see have multiyear investments; what we get this year may either start or keep on moving along and we find out next year and the year after the momentum continues,” Duffy said.
Vinnie Esposito is regional director for Empire State Development. He says the 94 projects funded in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area in this latest round continue to show a wide range of local priorities for growing jobs and improving various amenities.
“You see a lot of investment going into downtown revitalization, you see a lot of grants and awards that go to small businesses and you shouldn’t overlook those just because the dollar figures aren’t high. Those are the things that when you add them up lead to the job creation. And you see a lot of money that goes to infrastructure projects in the government and the parts of our community that support our population and our economy,” Esposito said.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren issued a statement saying that the awards will help fuel Rochester's continued growth, with projects that include UR Medicine Home Care coming downtown, renovations at Xerox Tower and greater access to the waterfront at Durand Beach.