Southern Tier receives $81.9 million in REDC awards

By Suzanne Proulx
By Haley Burton
By Kelly McCarthy

December 11, 2013 Updated Dec 11, 2013 at 6:25 PM EST

Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) For the second year in a row, the Southern Tier has been named a top performer in economic development. The Southern Tier was awarded $81.9 million in the regional economic development council awards.

The announcement was made in Albany Wednesday morning. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced more than $715 million of funding to go to regional economic development councils across New York State. Regional councils were started in 2011 to jump start economic development and promote business.

"It was a surprise to win twice in a row," said Dr. Harvey Stenger, President at Binghamton University and Co-Chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council. "We're a small region and it's a tough job to put together all those great projects so we're smiling a lot today."

A theme in the Southern Tier's plan will focus on the tax-free zones in Start-Up NY.

"Remember those employees will be buying homes and shopping in our stores," Stenger said, "And paying property taxes on their home so there's a lot of support of new employees that the tax-free zones don't take away from."

The Southern Tier presented a plan that includes an investment strategy for rebuilding business after the 2011 floods from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

'This approach to economic development by causing these counties to work together," said Donna Lupardo, (D) 123rd Assembly, "To try to find some regional strengths to develop has really worked out well for us."

In Broome County, more than $1 million will be spent to open up nearly 1,000 acres near the airport for commercial business. It's called the Airport/Landfill Corridor Improvement Project.

"One of the things I've been working very hard on, myself and my team," said (R) County Executive Debbie Preston, "Is the airport expansion of the sewer and I'm very proud to say that we've been awarded $1.25 million."

A total of $500,000 in funding will go to the Roberson Museum and Science Center for facility improvements and to promote as a tourist attraction.

"There's money for the Roberson Museum which is something that they've been looking forward to look at the facility and to stabilize that," said Thomas Libous, (R) NYS 52nd Senate.

$3.5 million will go into the Community Revitalization Fund to provide gap financing for private investment in downtowns and Main Streets.

Delaware County will get $850,000 to buy and renovate the former Wissahickon water bottling facility. The goal is to attract a new manufacturer and create jobs.

It will also focus on modernizing health care, new employment opportunities for people with disabilities and expanding the tourism in the area.

$1.5 million will help the Corning Museum of Glass expand and enhance the visitor experience at the new glassblowing facility.

For a complete list of all 87 projects and a breakdown of the funding click here. The Southern Tier awards begin on page 36.

The eight counties that make up the Southern Tier region are Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins.

This is the third round of economic development awards.