The Finger Lakes region was named a top performer awardee in the eighth round of the Regional Economic Council Development Initiative. It is slated to receive $86.5 million for 141 projects. In total, more than $763 million in economic and community development funding has been awarded through this round statewide.

Established in 2011 as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils replaced the state’s old top-down approach to economic development with one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers communities, business and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy. 

“Over the last eight years, we have implemented a vision to move New York State’s economy forward by allowing communities to make strategic investments to help grow their local economies and reenergize and develop their unique regions,” Cuomo said. “Regional-based economic development is vital for maintaining New York’s thriving, prosperous economy. I congratulate all of the winners of this year’s REDC awards and look forward to working together to build a stronger New York for generations to come.”

Since the initiative’s inception in 2011, over $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs statewide.

Here is a look at few projects in the Finger Lakes region:

  • Mason Farms will receive $1.9 million from Empire State Development to construct a 9,360 square foot sweet-corn processing facility to produce up to 20,000 cases of organic and conventional sweet corn per week. Equipment will be purchased including cutting, cleaning, packaging and handling equipment for the corn, water handling and washing equipment, and a new sweet corn harvester. Phase 2 of this project will include a processing and packaging system for Mason Farms fruit and produce and a cold storage facility.
  • Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES will receive $208,900 from Empire State Development for equipment to help train P-TECH high school students for high-demand, well-paying jobs in the areas of advanced manufacturing and information technology.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology will receive $1.5 million from Empire State Development to renovate and upgrade its Genomics Research Lab Cluster, which will occupy 8,000 square feet within the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences on the RIT campus. The lab cluster will support increased faculty research in the life sciences, enable increased enrollment capacity in the university’s life sciences academic degree programs, and produce graduates with cutting edge skill sets for the region and the state, and workforce development opportunities for life science companies.