By SAMANTHA MCDONNELL
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Ten job creation projects in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties will receive funding from New York state as announced by state Senator Catharine Young in a press release. The projects will be awarded funding through the Regional Economic Development Council awards. The projects include four total in Dunkirk and Gowanda.
"We need to get people back to work, develop good-paying jobs for our families and have career opportunities so our young people can stay after they graduate. These projects will be a boon to our local economies, and I applaud Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for working with us to achieve this successful initiative that is spurring job growth and building a stronger future," Sen. Young said.
The city of Dunkirk Main Street Program was awarded $250,000 which will be used to renovate seven buildings in its business district. The award will be used for the renovation and a streetscape improvement Project. Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was pleased the city was selected and complimented Development Director Steve Neratko and Dunkirk Local Development Corporation administrative assistant Nicole Waite.
"In talks with our development director, we will get more details next month because the details of the program tend to change a little from year to year. So what we're going to do is wait until those details come out and go from there," Dolce stated. "I can speculate that there will be some sort of application process. This Main Street grant we're very excited about. It can be used for just general renovations, it's not facade only, so there's a lot of possibilities here and we're excited to explore those possibilities."
Another project in the city that also received funding was the Dunkirk Bioenergy Power Generation project by Dunkirk Bioenergy LLC. The project received $350,000 to take advantage of an industrial organic waste stream. This stream exists in a circumference around the facility site and generates power through receiving and processing organic waste located in the SUNY Fredonia Incubator.
"In my talks, again with (Steve Neratko), there will be more details on their plans going forward. We've met with them before," Dolce said. "The impression I get is they need a space to make their concept work."
County Executive Greg Edwards said the funding will support "economic initiatives that we worked very hard throughout the year to support." He also spoke of Dunkirk Bioenergy LLC and the funding they received.
"Dunkirk bioenergy LLC started in the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator and we have been working closely with them. They were given a loan from the Chautauqua Seed Fund, a loan fund we started to help Incubator tenants get off to a good start," Edwards said. "Now they are looking ... for an industrial partner in the Fredonia/Dunkirk area for a commercial methane digester project. With our experience with the very successful methane to electric generating plant at the county landfill we certainly understand the potential for their technology."
Other projects in Chautauqua County include the Westfield Main Street Project receiving $150,000 to renovate eight buildings within the village through Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. Advanced Manufacturing Machinists Training Program will receive $99,900 for Jamestown Community College to train 27 unemployed workers as machinists. The village of Bemus Point will receive $375,000 for design and construction for streetscape improvements. Lopper North America will receive $250,000 to purchase new manufacturing equipment for low-emissions, wood fired boiler technology.
"The news is tremendous because these projects will strengthen our economy and help create and retain jobs, something our communities need," Sen. Young said.
The projects in Cattaraugus County include Gowanda Area Redevelopment Corporation will receive $250,000 to initiate final stages on the former Peter Cooper site. The Peter Cooper site located on Palmer Street adjacent to Cattaraugus Creek will serve as a recreational park that will be the gateway in to Zoar Valley. Joe Vogtli, president of GARC, said the gateway park will be a great addition to the community.
"It's a big boost for the area, northern Cattaraugus County, Erie County and Chautauqua County," Vogtli said. "These grants are competitive so thank you to Senator Young, (Assemblyman) Joe Giglio and Governor Cuomo."
The funding will help level out the former glue factory site so that the project to "proceed with the construction site," Vogtli said. The funding will help level the site so the designs of the park can begin. Also in Gowanda, the Hollywood Theater will receive $420,000 to continue restoration efforts. The funding will upgrade the HVAC system and including the system into the historic architecture of the building.
"For the second year in a row, the Regional Councils have been on the forefront of rebuilding New York State's economy. For too many years, top-down economic development policies have failed communities across the state and not truly invested in the unique resources and strengths of each of New York's regions. Now a new, bottom-up approach is in place that brings local communities together to chart their own economic destiny. The second round of Regional Economic Development Council awards will deliver funding for critical projects and investments in communities across our state, helping put New Yorkers back to work and rebuilding our economy," Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Throughout the state, over $730 million will be awarded for 725 development projects. In the Western New York Region, over $1.4 million will be spent on projects.
"I have been proud to work with people from every part of our area including leaders in business, education, local governments, economic development and planning and others, to develop a list of job creation projects that achieve our goals of creating jobs and building a strong foundation for future growth," Sen. Young said.
City Editor Gib Snyder contributed to this article. Comments on this article may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.