Mid-Hudson region to compete for $500M revitalization award

By John Golden

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The seven-county mid-Hudson region this year will compete with six other upstate regions for a $500 million share of a $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative fund recently announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The URI program adds a second funding competition to the state’s Regional Economic Development Council program launched by Cuomo at the start of his first term in office. In addition to the new initiative, the governor’s office said up to $750 million in state grants, loans and tax credits will be awarded to public and private development projects statewide in this fifth year of Cuomo’s regional strategy to create jobs, attract and retain businesses and develop regionally-specific industry clusters. Ten regional councils shepherd project applications from public and private entities to Albany for those awards and identify priority development projects in their respective regions.

The new Upstate Revitalization Initiative includes seven of the state’s 10 economic development regions – mid-Hudson, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Capital District. Of those, three winners each will receive $500 million awards over five years, with $100 million awarded this year to each winner.

State officials said the competing upstate regional councils will submit revitalization plans as an addition to their annual progress reports to the state. The plan should provide “a well-researched and credible argument that the region is ready for revitalization,” Cuomo administration officials said, and “describe the transformation that will happen in the region if granted those funds.” The plans will include lists of initial projects the councils recommend for funding.

The Upstate Revitalization Initiative plans are due to the state Oct. 5.

Consolidated funding applications for the Regional Economic Development Council awards are due on July 31. State officials said the summer deadline was extended this year to allow more time for businesses, municipalities, nonprofits and the public to apply for state assistance for their job-creating and community development projects.

In the fifth round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, will award up to $220 million, including $150 million in capital funds and $70 million in Excelsior tax credits, for regions’ priority projects. In addition, up to $530 million will be awarded from multiple state agency programs in this funding round.

Through the first four years of the regional council program, Central New York has led the state with $344.5 million in awards for 311 projects, according to the governor’s office. The North Country region is second with $338.1 million awarded for 291 projects. Long Island ranks third with $326.2 million for 347 projects.

The mid-Hudson region ranked sixth among the state’s 10 regions with $302.2 million in awards for 350 projects over four years. However, only the Finger Lakes region has had more development projects receive awards, 355, since 2011.

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About the author

John Golden
The Business Journal’s senior writer, John Golden directs news coverage of the county and Hudson Valley region as Westchester bureau chief. He was an award-winning upstate columnist and feature writer before joining the Business Journal in 2007. He is the author of “Northern Drift: Sketches on the New York Frontier,” a collection of his regional journalism.
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