It was touted as a new approach to economic development across New York State and the governor is calling it a success. YNN's Bill Carey says Andrew Cuomo has launched a personal review of the work done so far under a new competition for state funding.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A year after handing out the first round of development grants to regional councils across the state, the Governor came to the region that won the most in aid to see what the state dollars have accomplished.
The word from members of Central New York's Regional Economic Development Council was that the program is a success.
“Just in the central district of the City of Syracuse alone, there's more than $1.4 billion of investment that's underway. Capital investment. Construction. Not only construction jobs, but new, permanent jobs for the residents of this city and this region,” regional council co-chair Rob Simpson said.
Cuomo was taken on a bus tour of some of those projects, ranging from work at St. Joseph's Hospital to a new proposal for development of the city's Inner Harbor.
More than just a victory lap to show successes from the first round of funding, this trip was also designed as a pitch session, as the area begins to provide details of projects it would like included in the second round of state funding.
Again, 10 regions across the state will compete for the available dollars. A system that Cuomo says helped to jump start this new approach.
Cuomo said, “As an incentive to get it done, we made the process a competition. Why? Because people like to win. Why else? Because people don't like to lose.”
The governor is planning to visit each of the 10 regions to review projects now underway. He also has teams of state officials who will review new proposals as the state prepares to make funding decisions in December. But Cuomo says what he is seeing is progress.
“And you can feel a new energy, I think. And you feel a positive sense and a positive synergy and that becomes infectious. When people believe an area is coming back, it comes back,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo says the signs of that comeback are clear.
The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council says the projects that won funding in the first year of the new state program have created over 16,000 construction jobs in the area.