Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Rochester on Tuesday to tour projects that received state funding through the Regional Economic Development Council. A bus tour took the Governor through the Rochester area to see how state money is being spent.
The first stop for the Govenor was the Port of Rochester in Charlotte, where the state awarded nearly a million dollars for a public marina and related infrastructure.
Inside the terminal building, Cuomo said Regional Economic Development Councils are the key to obtaining state funds for local projects to increase the local tax base and create jobs. He says there is no longer just one New York State economy.
"There are regional economies. There really is no such thing as any state economy nowadays; it doesn't work that way. There are regional economic centers and regional economic strategies," said Cuomo, (D).
University of Rochester president Joel Seligman, co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, says state money for local projects has helped getting the private sector to pitch in.
"Last year, New York State awarded our region approximately $68.8 million. This has led to $346 million in private investment in aggregate," Seligman said.
The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy and area business leaders for a tour of projects funded through the Council.
The tour went through Eastman Business Park, which was one time the hub for Eastman Kodak. The Governor learned about Kodak's history and plans to lure other businesses to the park.
Then there was a stop at the Midtown redevelopment site, where the Rochester office of Windstream is taking shape.
The tour ended at PharmaSmart International in Brighton, a design, production and distribution center for blood pressure screening systems.
"The first year's grant is being is being very well spent," Cuomo said. "There's a good energy, there's a good partnership and I believe the future is good."
Following the tour, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council met to discuss its application for the next round of funding.
Those leading the council say they want to continue with the plan they've already implemented.
"What we're really interested in is continued help with Eastman Business Park. That's the number one project that we have. Then, of course, help with the U of R project for the super computer. Everyone talks about big data these days and that's what we need," said Danny Wegman.
The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council estimates approximately $200 million in leverage to build on what it's already started. The council is also looking at projects to help entrepreneurs that they believe will make Rochester a place where businesses can grow.