Council makes pitch for economic development funds

Regional panel touts successes; seeks more state funds to spur future growth

Published Oct 23, 2018 at 1:00pm

Several examples of local growth bolstered by state money over the past seven years, plus the need for more assistance to continue moving forward, were emphasized in a local economic development council’s pitch this morning for further state funding.

It is “amazing how far we’ve come,” Lawrence T. Gilroy III, co-chair of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, told a state evaluation team, but he also noted
“we still need your help...” on various additional projects.

During the session at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus, officials from the local council reviewed progress made with the help of about $530 million in state funding for economic development projects since the annual state program began in 2011.

They also cited their latest requests seeking about $20 million in state funding for a total of 23 “priority” projects in the six-county Mohawk Valley region.

Among those state funding requests is $2.465 million for a Rome Family YMCA capital development project involving a new facility on the
city-owned Woodhaven area; and $1.25 million for a planned mixed-use development including housing and commercial sites at a Griffiss business park site by the corner of Floyd Avenue and Route 825.

The Mohawk Valley region led off a series of regional economic development council presentations today at the MVCC site for a state Strategic Implementation Assessment Team.

Among team members who heard the presentations and then asked questions of the council members were New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado and several other state officials including Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito of Rome among them.

Other regional economic development councils that were on the schedule for presentations today at MVCC included the North Country, Capital Region, and Central New York. The remainder of the 10 overall regional councils statewide will make their presentations later this week and next week at other locations.

The state will announce the next round of funding awards by year-end.

For the Mohawk Valley region, which includes Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, the council presentation said the $530 million in state funding since 2011 has assisted 563 projects.

Although about 25 percent of 217 priority projects were terminated, 95 percent of that involved funding was reinvested and is “back to work” for the region, said Mohawk Valley council co-chair Dustin Swanger, who is president of Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Among some points of emphasis in the presentation was the importance of local work in cyber-security and unmanned aerial systems/drones, and growth of tourism initiatives including activating waterfronts in Rome and Utica. \The Mohawk Valley council closed its presentation by showing a video including the message “our strategy is working,” along with various statistics to accompany the images.

Afterward, state assessment team members commented and asked some follow-up questions. Destito praised the presentation, commenting “I have to say ‘wow’ and ‘thank you.’ She added “I could not be more proud of the Mohawk Valley and all of you here.”

Another member of the state team, Thruway Authority acting Executive Director Matt Driscoll, said the presentation “really showed us...very obvious momentum” locally.