Two area projects were among 24 endorsed as priority projects by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) at a meeting in Buffalo Monday. The projects would be funded if the WNYREDC projects are selected for the second round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Regional Council initiative.
According to a release from WNYREDC, the 24 priority projects have the potential to generate more than $170 million in economic activity and create and retain more than 900 direct and 2,600 indirect jobs.
Projects chosen will help further implementation of the strategic plan the council developed by investing in workforce development, entrepreneurship, smart growth infrastructure projects, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism assets.
Under the renewable energy category, Dunkirk Bioenergy, LLC would be awarded $500,000. According to WNYREDC, Dunkirk Bioenergy will provide a more affordable recycled waste disposal alternative and lower cost clean power and heat to two of the largest employers in Chautauqua County. This project is designed to take advantage of the industrial organic waste stream that exists in a small circumference around the facility site to receive and process organic waste for power generation.
County Executive Greg Edwards said he was pleased with the selection of Bioenergy.
"We've been working with them through the county Industrial Development Agency (IDA) for two years," Edwards stated. "The IDA provided $30,000 in loans. Since the seed money loan they've been moving the project forward. Right now they're in a group of qualified applicants. This is really great news for Chautauqua County, we've got another good plan with good people to invest in. ... We're excited about this."
Dunkirk Bioenergy LLC filed articles of incorporation with the state in June 2011. In July 2011, the county IDA board of directors approved a five-year, $100,000 loan at 4 percent interest to provide working capital for the company.
Company officials were in New York City Tuesday and not available for comment, according to Robert Fritzinger, SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator director said. He added company officials were working on project details and wanted to speak for themselves.
A Gowanda treasure would receive $115,000 if the WNYREDC proposal is a winner.
Under the Smart Growth Infrastructure projects category, the Gowanda Historic Hollywood Theater would receive funds to restore and reopen the theatre. According to WNYREDC, the project is expected to create jobs and enhance cultural tourism while greatly encouraging new business development in the center of a village that has undergone considerable economic distress over the past 30 years.
Last year, $785 million was awarded for job-creating economic and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, according to WNYREDC. Up to $762 million in state resources was committed for 2012. Funding for the second round includes $220 million ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) to implement regional strategic plans and continue to advance priority job-creating projects, and up to $542 million from state agency programs through Consolidated Funding Applications to support regionally-significant economic development projects.
Five awards of $25 million will be made with the competition consisting of two parts.
The four regions with the 2011 Best Plans will compete for two awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds. Awards will be made based on the progress the Regional Councils have made implementing their strategies and evolution of their strategic plans.
The remaining six regions will compete for three awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds. Awards will be made based on the regions' revised and updated strategic plans and progress made implementing their strategies
The balance of the $25 million in capital will be available for priority projects in the remaining five regions. In addition, each region will also be eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.
A Strategic Implementation Assessment Team will visit each of the 10 regions to hear presentations and tour implementation activity and priority projects. Funding awards for the second round of the CFA process are expected to be announced this fall.
"The priority projects endorsed by the Regional Council represent critical opportunities to build upon the region's strengths and competitive advantages, and immediately accelerate job creation and economic growth," said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. "Together with our work on the Buffalo Billion, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is playing a key role in the strategic deployment of state funding to support the expansion of local companies, and in the targeted attraction of new businesses across the country and around the globe."
To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.nyworks.ny.gov.
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