Rochester, N.Y. — The Greater Rochester, NY region has secured $500 million, through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative, to pursue an ambitious economic development plan. The plan focuses on three key industries that will drive regional job growth and economic activity — Optics, Photonics and Imaging; Agriculture and Food Production; and Next Generation Manufacturing and Technology.
Each year, for the next five years, the region will be awarded $100 million to execute this bold vision for the future. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) will leverage the funding to support expansion of local businesses and attract new companies, new investment and new jobs to the Rochester region.
“This $500 million in state support from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative will serve as an economic catalyst, accelerating the progress underway in the Greater Rochester region,” Greater Rochester Enterprise President & CEO Mark S. Peterson said. “With this new funding, we expect to attract $6.4 billion in private investment and create 8,200 direct jobs. This will have a truly transformative impact on our regional economy.”
In the years ahead, the plan aims to achieve four objectives: grow jobs, increase regional wealth, drive private investment and reduce poverty.
“Over the past five years, the Regional Councils have become an integral part of generating economic opportunity in communities statewide,” Governor Cuomo said. “By removing barriers to growth, controlling spending and cutting taxes, we have laid the groundwork for our Regional Councils to pursue projects in key industries that have turned their communities into local economic engines. This year’s round of awards demonstrates the progress that has been made in changing the trajectory of our economy and continues our commitment to investing in the future of New York State.”
Three core enablers — workforce development, entrepreneurship, and higher education and research — will facilitate growth in the key pillar industries. Together, these pillars and enablers, along with the foundation provided by the region’s quality of life, form the framework for sustainable, long-term economic development in Greater Rochester region and the Finger Lakes region, overall.
“With an influx in state investment, we will aggressively pursue game-changing projects and cultivate the growth of key employers, while solidifying the Rochester region’s position as a national and global leader in the pillar industries of photonics, agriculture and food production and advanced manufacturing,” Peterson added.
In the first year of this five-year initiative, funds will be allocated to several major projects that will have a lasting regional impact. The projects align with the pillars and enablers at the heart of the plan.
To fuel activity in the Next Generation Manufacturing and Technology pillar, $1 million will be allocated to the University of Rochester’s Goergen Institute for Data Science, $2 million will be directed to the NY-BEST Consortium at Eastman Business Park to support an energy storage ecosystem and additional funds will be targeted to the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Genesee County.
New investments in agriculture and food production include $420,000 for the LeRoy Food and Technology Park, $600,000 for an Agriculture Processing Facility in Orleans County and $500,000 for the Cornell Agriculture & Food Technology Park in Ontario County for the construction of a new light manufacturing building.
In addition, funds will be dedicated to downtown revitalization and community development. This includes $3.5 million to support the development of the Sibley Building and $1.5 million for renovations to the Joseph E. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. To support community development, $200,000 was awarded to the YMCA of Greater Rochester to expand existing facilities in Yates County.
“We are deeply grateful to the Governor and New York State Legislature for their unprecedented commitment to revive the upstate economy and help confront the roots of poverty in our region,” Joel Seligman, University of Rochester president and co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council said. “The URI award represents a catalytic multi-year commitment to accelerate economic growth at a speed and on a scale previously unimaginable and extend opportunity to more of our region’s residents.”