By LIZ SKOCZYLAS
OBSERVER Mayville Bureau
MAYVILLE - The Northern Chautauqua Regional Water project is moving forward, pending approval from Albany.
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council recently approved the council's priority project list for round three of the state Consolidated Funding Application process. The Chautauqua Regional Water project received 20 out of 20 points. It is one of 16 projects being endorsed by the council and submitted to the state as regional priorities.
As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative to stimulate job creation and economic growth, up to $760 million in economic development resources are available to applicants through the Consolidated Funding Application in 2013.
According to Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, a group of leaders have been working to develop the Chautauqua Regional Water project since 2008, in order to address the northern part of the county's needs, and to "open the door" for an expanded economic development potential, with better water resources.
"I'm thrilled that as a result of this work, and the preparation of filing of a very good consolidated funding application this year by Chadwick Bay and their consultants, the Northern Chautauqua County Water District received 20 out of 20 - the highest score possible - as a regional priority project at the last Western New York Economic Development Council meeting," Edwards said. "Scoring 20 out of 20, and in addition, ranked as high as it was, as the No. 2 project in the region, positions this tremendous regional project as well as it could possibly ever be positioned as it goes to Albany, looking for significant funding to enable the project to continue to go forward."
Edwards said he has been passionate about the project, after the Chautauqua County Department of Health completed a study he had requested, which analyzed the current status of water systems in the Northern Chautauqua County Watershed.
"So, we looked at all those municipalities in the northern part of Chautauqua County, and it was clear they had dramatic issues that needed to be dealt with," Edwards said. "Costs were over $70 million if they individually did what they needed to do. We worked with Chadwick Bay - a proven leader in coordinated regional efforts through the northern Chautauqua County municipalities - and presented a developed program where the work could be done for approximately $20 million less if they partnered together. So, it's a better system for much less money that actually delivers municipal water to a much larger segment of the northern part of Chautauqua County, enabling economic development to take place. How could you not be passionate for the potential of such an effort?"
The project will now go to Albany for review. The review board in Albany will analyze the project, comparing it to other projects throughout the state. It will be determined in December how much economic development money has been awarded to the project.