Upstate Revitalization Grants Announced [PHOTOS]
Saying that compelling applications and presentations were made by all regions participating in New York's Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) competition, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo is announcing the three regions that were successful in their bids.
There are three victors in the statewide competition that has been dubbed "New York's Hunger Games." This is the fifth year of the Regional Economic Development Council awards and the first for the Upstate Revitalization Initiatives. [NOTE: Several times the Governor repeatedly referred to the URI as the "Urban Revitalization Initiative." That was a misstatement.]
The other regions will be eligible for grants garnered through successful implementation of programs awarded in years past. The other four regions will receive $50 million.
The seven regions which competed for the funding are:
- Capital Region
- Central New York (URI $500 million WINNER)
- Finger Lakes (URI $500 million WINNER)
- Mid Hudson
- Mohawk Valley
- North Country
- Southern Tier (URI $500 million WINNER)
Locally the MV500 team organized several months ago with one goal in mind - winning $500 million, paid as $100 million a year for five years. The MV500 received $100.3 million in REDC grant monies.
In addition to Governor Cuomo, among those who spoke at today's announcement were Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Assembly Speaker Joseph Morelle, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. The mistress of ceremonies was WPIX reporter Kirstin Cole.
In making the announcement Cuomo explained his plan to make upstate communities become more economically self-sufficient. "We were losing people and we were losing jobs, and this went on for decades...in truth we were losing more jobs and people than we were putting back in..."
Of the economic initiatives Cuomo said, "This is the largest investment in the state since the Erie Canal." He says they anticipate the creation of 150,000 jobs throughout New York as a result of the "stimulation of those local economic engines around the state."
The Governor touched on the relationships in Albany and his own - stating that relationships are difficult, joking that he is divorced. His overall tone was optimistic, "The truth," he said, "is now the arrows are up."
State Senator Joseph Griffo offered the following statement concerning Thursday’s announcement of the Regional Economic Development Council and Upstate Revitalizations Initiative awards:
We are disappointed that the Mohawk Valley and North Country did not meet the criteria that the Governor believes would have warranted $500 million in long-term investment through this year’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative. However, we are still confident that the public and private sectors and leadership of these regions have identified a promising set of ideas that will help sustain our momentum to make the most of the opportunities we have for future growth.
While this funding would have gone a long way in helping us realize our full potential, it is encouraging to know that we have a clear understanding of what it will take to further capitalize on our current successes, to foster regional stability through a diversified economy, to help families rise out of poverty, and to create the exceptional career, educational and social opportunities necessary to attract younger people to our regions.
We are thankful for the state REDC funding the regions have received today, and I commend the hard work and dedication demonstrated by the members of the Mohawk Valley and North Country Regional Economic Development Councils who put forth what they believed was the best vision for regional economic progress.
Still, I have expressed reservations from the outset about the method and manner in which these funds were to be awarded, and now we will have a chance to reexamine this concept as we move forward.