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Heather Nellis
Shown, from left, are New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, Tax & Finance Department Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox, Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Civil Service Commissioner President Jerry Boone, Tourism Advisory Council Chairwoman Crystine Nicholas. They comprised a panel that received a presentation from the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council at St. Mary’s Hospital Carondelet Building Tuesday in Amsterdam. The panel will determine how much funding the council receives next week for regional economic development projects.


Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council makes final pitch

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - Updated: 11:43 PM


For the C-S-E

The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council on Tuesday made its final pitch to a state panel that will determine which councils will get extra funding boosts in next week’s statewide announcement of project awards.

After touring Fulton-Montgomery Community College, the Johnstown Industrial Park, and the Florida Business Park through the Route 5S corridor, the council and statesmen gathered at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam.

The panel reviewed its progress since Gov. Andrew Cuomo formed the councils three years ago, focusing heavily on agritourism, downtown revitalization and nanotechnology.

“The resources awarded to the Mohawk Valley region have been put to good use -- supporting economic development projects that are leading to new jobs and transformational change in our region,” said council co-chair Lawrence T. Gilroy III.

The Mohawk Valley was the last on the panel’s tour to the hear from all 10 councils. The panel is comprised of Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, Tax & Finance Department Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox, Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Civil Service Commissioner President Jerry Boone, and Tourism Advisory Council Chairwoman Crystine Nicholas.

It’s the hope the Mohawk Valley council will be identified as a “top performer” in a competition between all 10 councils. The competition places emphasis on regional council performance, and action to implement strategies. 

On Dec. 11, the panel is expected to announce which five regional councils will receive up to $25 million each. The remaining regions will compete for the balance of $25 million. Each region will also be eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits.

Local projects up for funding include a $20 million senior housing project on the city’s South Side, and transformation of the city’s hotel to a Hampton Inn & Suites.

“This year, the Mohawk Valley is doing a strong push to get designated for the extra funding, because, let’s face it, it didn’t fare as well as the other councils in the other two rounds,” said Empire State Development Spokesman Jason Conwall.

In the first two rounds of the regional council initiative, the Mohawk Valley Region was awarded $119.2 million in state support more than 150 projects across the region. Of those projects, more than 83 percent are underway.

Once completed, the projects will result in the creation and retention more than 3,300 jobs, and leverage more than $575 million in public and private sector investment.

Some of the impacts from funding showcased Tuesday include:

-- Downtown Amsterdam waterfront revitalization: The city of is rebuilding its downtown through strategic investments in infrastructure, Main Streets, and waterfront. Utilizing $450,000 in awards, Amsterdam is redeveloping a historic structure the heart of downtown for mixed-use development to complement facade and residential improvements already completed on Main Street and Bridge Street.  With a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program award, Amsterdam continues to pursue a ten-year, $30 million waterfront redevelopment strategy on the banks of the Mohawk River.

“Amsterdam is paving the way for waterfront successes across the Mohawk and Hudson River valleys in Utica, Rome, Cohoes, and Albany,” said Gilroy.

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane agreed, noting the city’s waterfront park “is one of the first in the state, and our Local Waterfront Revitalization plan is the first of its kind in the state. People are following our lead.”

-- Fulton-Montgomery Community College nanotechnology cleanroom: Inspired by statewide developments, and funded by a $500,000 grant from NASA, F-MCC recently completed construction a state-of-the-art cleanroom facility. Strategically positioned between the state’s nanotech hubs in Saratoga County and Utica, it functions as a public-private training ground for students pursuing careers in nanoscale sciences, electronics, and advanced manufacturing. 

-- FAGE Dairy USA Inc., expansion project: In five years, FAGE has invested more than $150 million, and created more than 160 jobs in Fulton County. This year, FAGE is leveraging an award to construct a $100 million expansion, creating a full second production line. This expansion will add 182,000 square feet of building space, and create an additional 100 new positions, resulting in an additional $5.5 million annual payroll. The project will double FAGE’s purchases from local dairy farmers from 65 to 130 million gallons per year, an estimated $10.4 million year in milk purchases.


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