Empire State Development

Empire State Development is New York State's chief economic development agency.
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A closer look at one of New York’s Regional Economic Development Councils

New York’s Southern Tier contains two metropolitan areas — Binghamton and Elmira, a number of small cities, and extensive rural areas that border Pennsylvania. With industry clusters like manufacturing, flight simulation, defense, distribution and insurance, the region is home to internationally known employers such as Corning, Ardagh Metal Packaging USA, DeMets Candy Company, Raymond Corporation, BAE Systems, Frito-Lay and Dresser-Rand.

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As part of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, which divided the state into ten regions to provide local stakeholders with the tools and resources to grow the economy and create jobs in the region, the state has awarded more than $222 million to the Southern Tier REDC, including nearly $50 million for 58 projects in 2011. Just over two years later, 95 percent of the projects in the Southern Tier supported by Round 1 REDC awards are either completed or on track for a timely completion.

One of those projects is happening at Norwich Pharmaceuticals, which was awarded $2 million from ESD to support a nearly $40 million expansion that includes a new laboratory and equipment. This project will make the company an even stronger competitor in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and has the potential to create and retain 361 good paying jobs. The expansion is well underway and the company is already starting to look for New Yorkers to fill the new positions.

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In the first round, the Southern Tier REDC developed three funds targeted at key regional industries and needs: the Shovel Ready, Community Revitalization and Rural Initiative. These funds have been modeled by other REDCs around the state as a way to provide low-interest loans to small businesses to push projects over the goal line and create new local jobs.

“Many of these businesses are struggling and we’re trying to give them some help,” co-chairman of the STREDC, Harvey Stenger, recently stated in an interview.

In Tompkins County, The Piggery in Ithaca received a $300,000 low-interest loan from the Rural Initiative fund to help with building renovations, and the family-owned butcher shop is almost finished and will add 10 new jobs. While over in  Greene, Chenango County, the Sherwood Inn, received a $325,000 loan for renovations to the historic facility, which is leading to 30 new jobs.

These are just a few highlights of the economic activity happening across the eight-county Southern Tier region, which is keeping the momentum going in 2014 after being awarded $81.3 million in Round 3 of the REDC competition.

Considered as having one of the best plans in the state in 2012, the Southern Tier REDC is building on its success by supporting projects that expand health care programs, grow job training resources and boost tourism in the region.

Highlights of projects awarded economic development funding in Round III include:

  • $3,500,000 to the Community Revitalization Fund to provide gap financing encouraging private investments in downtowns and Main Streets, and development of the region’s neighborhoods and rural population centers.
  • $2,250,000 to Elmira College to create a Health Care Training Center, including renovations to Cowles Hall to house the Nursing, Speech and Hearing programs and to provide space for new healthcare programs. The project will result in job creation and allow for increased nursing enrollment.
  • $1,300,000 to the Town of Margaretville for assistance in the construction of a new hotel at the site of the already existing Margaretville Motel as part of the Margaretville Lodging LLC Business Expansion Plan.
  • $850,000 to Delaware County to reinvest in a long dormant manufacturing facility. The Delaware County IDA will undertake a project to acquire and renovate the former Wissahickon water bottling facility for the purpose of developing a shovel-ready, turn-key light manufacturing facility in order to attract new private sector investment and job creation.