WNY Regional Economic Council To Meet In Jamestown Monday

For the first time since being created in 2011, the Western New York Regional Economic Council will be meeting in Jamestown to talk about future development projects.

On Monday, the regional council will be meeting at 1 p.m. at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, located at 116 E. Third St. This is a public meeting with all individuals, businesses, organizations, labor representatives and university representatives from Western New York region welcomed to attend.

In May, state Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that 10 projects had been selected to receive Downtown Revitalization Initiative program funding totaling around $9.7 million. Last year, it was announced Jamestown was the award recipient of $10 million in funding during the first year of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. One municipality in each of the 10 Regional Economic Development was selected to receive the state funding.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is co-chaired by SolEpoxy CEO Jeff Belt and President of the State University of New York at Fredonia Dr. Virginia Horvath. The region is composed of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

“This is the first meeting that they have held that has been more than five miles or so off of a thruway interchange. So we are quite pleased to finally get them to come to Jamestown,” said Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor.

“I think one of the reasons they are looking to come to Jamestown isn’t just out of obligation, because they see a need for the council to get out through the southern tier counties of Western New York, but also because the members truly do what to come and see in person what is happening here,” he continued.

In the Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Application process, organizations apply for money from several different state funding sources. Monday, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council will start the project prioritization process, which will count toward 20 percent of the overall score. State officials in Albany will have 80 percent of the vote for proposed economic development projects.

In June, Jamestown City Council endorsed five Consolidated Funding Application projects city officials have submitted this year.

One application includes the proposal to create a public piazza between Jefferson and Washington streets around Northwest Arena and the National Comedy Center; the second is for Northwest Arena to expand their Grapes and Hops festival; the third was for the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation for a New York Main Street Downtown Anchor grant to assist in the rehabilitation of 10-12 W. Second St.; the fourth application was for the structural analysis of the Arcade Building, the former Holmlunds Wallpaper & Paint store and the two-story building adjacent to the Arcade Building, which was the site of a fire that took place in June; and the fifth was for the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation application to update the Urban Design Plan.

In April, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched Round VII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, officially kicking off the annual competition that will reward more than $800 million in state economic development resources this year.

Last year, the National Comedy Center was awarded $834,000 in state funding rewarded to projects through the Regional Economic Development Councils. Also, city officials received $1,480,000 from the state through a Green Innovation Grant for the Tracy Plaza redevelopment project; and the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation received $111,297 for the second phase of the Winter Garden Plaza renovation project.

In 2011, Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government and non-governmental organizations. The councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom-up approach and establishing a competitive process for state resources.

Since the beginning of the regional councils, the funding reward announcement has been made in December.