University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman, co-chairs of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, issued the following statement in response the 2013 Regional Economic Development Council Awards, which were announced earlier today.
Today in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced $59.8 million in economic development support for the nine-county Finger Lakes region. These funds – which represent a total of $225 million in state support to the region over the last three years – represent important catalytic investments in projects that will accelerate our economic transformation.
We are also pleased that the state has selected the Finger Lakes for one its Innovation Hot Spot awards. This important project will accelerate the development and commercialization of new technologies and provide support to small businesses throughout the region.
The progress that our region has made over the last several years has been, in great part, due to the Governor's leadership and vision in creating the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. In the Finger Lakes, this process has created an unprecedented level of collaboration and consensus and has enabled us to craft a comprehensive blueprint for economic growth. The key to the Council's success has been the participation of more than 300 stakeholders representing every county and industry sector.
We are immensely proud of what we have achieved to date. The Finger Lakes region has been responsible for more than 40 percent of all job growth in upstate New York since 2009. The $165 million in state awards in 2011 and 2012 will create or retain more than 9,000 jobs and result in more than $911 million in total investment. Furthermore, thanks in great part to the state's leadership, many of the obstacles to the preservation and revitalization of Eastman Business Park, the Council's number one priority, have been resolved.
This new state support will enable our region to move forward with projects that will foster innovation and entrepreneurship, help small businesses grow and prosper, train our workforce for the jobs of the future and extend economic opportunity to underserved communities, revitalize key industrial development sites, catalyze growth in key industry sectors, and strengthen our communities and quality of life.
We are deeply grateful to the Governor for his support. We also understand our efforts have only just begun and look forward to continuing to work with the state to build a new economic future for our region.