State economic development funding competition kicks off once again, $750 million up for grabs
Regions around the state will again compete for more than $750 million in state economic development resources.
The annual regional competition, which has been referred to as the “Hunger Games” by critics has successfully jumpstarted projects throughout the state, but questions have risen regarding the return on investment.Over the past six years St. Lawrence County has been awarded millions of dollars for a variety of projects, but has also struggled to complete a fair number of the projects.
St. Lawrence County is in the eight-county North Country council, made up of representatives from businesses, academia, government officials and non-governmental agencies.
Of 21 St. Lawrence County priority projects for which NCREDC promised funding, 13 are listed as “on schedule,” three are completed and four have been cancelled due to problems. Two other projects a food hub in Canton and expansion at Curran Renewable remain uncertain.
It is unclear at this time how much funding the North Country Regional Economic Development Council will seek for St. Lawrence County projects.
For the upcoming round applications will open to applicants on May 1, enabling businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to begin applying for assistance from dozens of state programs, through a single application, for job-creation and community development projects.
"The Regional Economic Development Councils have redefined how economic development is done in New York State, creating new jobs, stronger local economies, and more unified regions," Gov. Cuomo said. "We are once again empowering regions to chart their future, while providing the necessary tools to implement their vision for community and economic growth, creating a positive impact across the Empire State."
The REDC process has transformed New York State government's approach to economic development, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up, regional economic growth and streamlining the state funding application process, according to the governor. Since 2011, the first year of the initiative, over $5.4 billion has been awarded to 10 regions, supporting at least 6,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs statewide.
Through seven rounds of the REDC competition:
• Western New York REDC has delivered $487.2 million for 663 projects;
• Finger Lakes REDC has delivered $570.1 million for 715 projects;
• Southern Tier REDC has delivered $547.9 million for 554 projects;
• Central New York REDC has delivered $615.5 million for 617 projects;
• Mohawk Valley REDC has delivered $529.6 million for 563 projects;
• North Country REDC has delivered $549.5 million for 537 projects;
• Capital Region REDC has delivered $521.9 million for 718 projects;
• Mid-Hudson REDC has delivered $560.7 million for 687 projects;
• New York City REDC has delivered $465.1 million for 573 projects; and
• Long Island REDC has delivered $570.8 million for 688 projects.
Round VIII of the REDC initiative will award more than $750 million in state funding and tax incentives, including up to $150 million in capital grants and up to $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects and activities identified by the Councils as regional priorities in their communities. Additionally, over $525 million from state agency programs will be awarded through the CFA process.
All ten regions will be competing this year for designation as a Top Performer.
Five Top Performers will receive awards of up to $20 million in ESD Capital Grants.
The remaining five regions identified as Regional Awardees will receive up to $10 million in ESD Capital Grants.
In addition, each region will once again receive $10 million to implement projects identified through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and projects from all 10 regions submitted through the CFA will be eligible for over $525 million in other state agency funds.
The 2018 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources will be accessible at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. The CFA will open to applicants on May 1st and the deadline for applications is Friday, July 27th at 4 p.m. For applicants, the CFA is available at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/.