Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that more than $700 million in economic and community development funding has been awarded through Round VI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
A centerpiece of the Governor’s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were established in 2011 to replace the state’s old top-down approach to economic development, with one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers community, 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 in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.
In Western New York, 105 projects received a total of $62 million. Highlights include:
Niagara Street Gateway – Porter Avenue to Ontario Street Construction – $4.24 million
Construction of the portion of the Niagara Street Gateway running from Porter Avenue north to Ontario Street. The project will incorporate green infrastructure and include construction of a cycle track, installation of vegetation, street furniture and wayfinding signage.
Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project – $1 million
The project will move the existing light rail track to the front of the NFTA-Metro’s Rail Yards and Shops Facility at the foot of Main Street. This will allow for the return of two-way traffic to Main Street; the installation of additional on-street parking, street furnishings and crosswalks; and improved paving and the redevelopment of the DLW Terminal.
Allen Street Streetscape Project – $600,000
Construct a pedestrian and bicycle path connecting Washington and Oak Streets on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Allen Street streetscape improvements such as sidewalk repairs, installation of traffic signals, LED lights and signage and landscaping, including trees and street furniture resulting in increased patronage of area businesses, restaurants and cultural attractions; small business development; and the creation of a better-connected and more pedestrian friendly community.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Restoration – $500,000
Greenhouse interior and exterior remediation, hazardous materials sampling, testing and abatement, extensive structural work, masonry repairs, aluminum framing replacement, wood restoration and replacement, plaster repairs, painting, window repair and replacement of glazing. Photo: Lisa Boulden
Broadway/Michigan Mixed-Use Redevelopment Project – $450,000
The project restores four buildings and includes in-fill development resulting in commercial and cultural space, and a restaurant and offices. This building restoration project is located in the Michigan Street African American Corridor, a focal point for residents and visitors interested in learning about Buffalo’s rich history through its shops, restaurants, historical markers, unique architecture and people.
The Jacobs Institute – $400,000
The project will strengthen the health and life sciences industry in WNY by creating a medical device innovation hub which will spur new approaches to vascular disease prevention and treatment while attracting significant outside investment from large medical device companies, providing entrepreneurial opportunities for inventors and startups, and creating meaningful jobs vital to keeping talented young people in our region.
First Presbyterian Church – $328,440
The restoration and repointing of the historic E.B. Green tower of First Presbyterian Church located at One Symphony Circle will have an immediate, significant, and ongoing impact to both the cultural and social fabric of the region. Recognized as a Nationally Registered Historic Landmark, the building is an architectural icon in the city’s skyline and an important piece in Olmstead’s internationally recognized urban design.
Landscape Restoration at Martin House – $275,000
The project will recreate Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs for multiple landscape elements and gardens/site treatments throughout the 1.5 acre Darwin Martin House historic site in Buffalo. It will also support the completion of built-in furnishings, unique paint finishes and custom woodwork on the second floor of the 15,000 square foot house.
Buffalo History Museum West Gallery Restoration – $126,500
The Buffalo History Museum will reclaim 6,000 square feet of the 1901 Pan Am building by revamping the 2nd floor west gallery into flexible-use space affording new opportunities for changing exhibits and modular galleries. Restoration will embrace original features such as light fixtures, crown molding, Doric columns and arched entryways. The effort will increase yearly admissions revenue, tourist visitation, earned revenue and donations.
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Innovation Incubator – $125,000
The Innovation Incubator will expand the range of business development programming through an Idea Lab to teach the application of creative thinking to the innovation process.
Buffalo Public Schools Welding Skills Training Project – $98,750
Buffalo City School District’s Public Schools Adult Education Division will work collaboratively with the Department of Labor’s Career Centers to provide training in welding skills to unemployed individuals comprised mostly of minority males and veterans.
Center for Employment Opportunities, Inc. – $98,291
Center for Employment Opportunities will partner with Habitat for Humanity, as part of its Green and Healthy Initiative (GHHI), to provide on-the-job training and transitional employment in home rehabilitation services that meet or exceed national green building certification standards. Program participants will receive training in Green and Healthy careers.
Visit Buffalo Niagara: Meet Buffalo – $45,000
Grant funds will be used to carry out the Meet Buffalo Niagara initiative, a multiphase project that will target meeting planners and decision makers from professional associations, inviting them to visit Buffalo Niagara to be introduced to community stakeholders, cultural attractions and regional assets that will help to drive home the point that they should host their organization’s conference in Buffalo Niagara.
Beverly Gray Business Center – $18,550
Funds will be used to support the creation of the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center on Buffalo’s east side, a one-stop shop for business assistance support services to small and minority and women-owned enterprises.