$750M up for grabs for development projects

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon about the importance of rebuilding the state’s economy after fiscal hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

NEW YORK — Leaders in the state’s 10 regions can start applying for more than $750 million in grants earmarked for economic development projects, officials said, as New York works to rebuild from the fiscal fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses, municipalities and local governments, nonprofit organizations statewide and the public can apply for the funding for community development projects intended to create thousands of jobs and boost the economy.

The 2021-22 state budget includes spending $750 million in economic development money from dozens of programs to fund the 11th round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

The next round is part of New York’s pandemic recovery, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

“Tell us what your best ideas are to build an economy for all, and if they’re smart and if they’re feasible, and if you can actually get it done, then New York state will fund it,” Cuomo said Tuesday afternoon at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. “We have $750 million available... but the regions have to come up with their own plan.

“You plan your economic rebirth.”

The state is accepting Consolidated Funding Applications now through 4 p.m. July 30.

Each region must devise and submit unique plans for projects to receive an award, the governor said, as ideas and solutions to bolster the state and local economy vary widely across the state’s regions, which include the north country, Western New York, the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, Central New York, the Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island.

Each state has a Regional Council that will review and recommend proposed projects that should be prioritized, placing emphasis on readiness and ideas in keeping with the community’s development strategy.

The governor encouraged officials and community members to be creative in their plans.

“We either rise or fall by what we do at this moment in time, and this is a time to think outside the box,” he said. “This is a time to think big, this is a time to think transformative. Just get your head to a different place — don’t be limited by your old view of, ‘Oh well, this is all we can do. These are our limitations.’ There are no limitations. Let’s reinvent the way we do it.”

The initiative includes $225 million in grants and tax credits and $525 million from state agencies to support the community revitalization program.

Empire State Development will invest $150 million in grant funding for projects on a continuous and competitive basis, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

This year marks the state’s 11th of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. More than $6.9 billion has been spent under the initiative since 2011 on 8,300 projects, creating more than 240,000 jobs statewide, Cuomo said.

The north country’s Regional Economic Development Council has received $682.2 million for 690 projects to date.

The Finger Lakes REDC has received $721 million for 950 projects and $620.4 million for 890 Western New York projects over the last decade.

The council has awarded $673 million to the Capital Region for 933 projects and $713.6 million for 914 projects in the Mid-Hudson region, according to the governor’s office.

New York City’s development council has received $615.9 million for 819 projects.

“As we enter the eleventh round of this initiative and as the State continues to move forward following the devastating effects of the pandemic, we are committed to this bottom-up approach to foster regional partnerships and make strategic investments,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, said Tuesday. “New York has seen tremendous growth in all 10 regions through the REDCs.”

Each Regional Council is a public-private partnership of local business owners, academic experts, government officials and non-government stakeholders.

“Look at what we’ve done over the past year and then tell me we can’t, and I’ll show you what we have and that we can,” Cuomo said. “There’s nothing that we can’t do if we join together in doing it. ... Our future, my friends, is what we make of it. It’s been a hell of a year. The question is what we do.”

To submit an application, visit apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/.

For more information about the regional Economic Development Councils and specifics of the program, visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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