Some $3.3 million in economic and community development funding was awarded to projects in Saratoga County through Round VII of the New York state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
The funds include $300,000 for the Z-HUB project, which involves construction of a grain hub in the town of Moreau to grow, harvest, process, package and ship grains to in-state craft brewers and distillers in eastern New York state, providing greater access to state-produced grains for craft beverage producers and increased market opportunities for grain farmers.
The largest award, $1.7 million, went to Pike Companies, to acquire land and construct and equip a building to establish a Manufacturing Technology Education Center (MTEC), a public-private partnership between GlobalFoundries, SUNY and other institutions and businesses that will provide training for 21st century manufacturing careers.
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative doled out a total of $75 million statewide. 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.
“Over the past seven years, the Regional Economic Development Councils have successfully brought together the most innovative minds in economic development, fostering collaboration between state and local leaders to invest in New York’s regional resources from the ground up,” said Gov. Mario Cuomo when he announced the grants on Dec. 14. “These awards are critical to building the foundations for New York’s future and ensuring that our economic momentum continues. I congratulate each of the Councils on their awards and look forward to continuing to partner to keep our communities vibrant and thriving for years to come.”
The Saratoga Partnership provided strategic guidance, technical assistance, business planning and access to resources to support and advance the Z-HUB project.
According to the agency, Z-HUB will be located on 310 acres of the Czub Farm on Old West Road. The first phase of the $1.5 million project will involve construction of the facility and purchase and set up of grain storage, cleaning and processing equipment.
It is hoped the project will also provide a solution for craft brewers and distillers in New York who hold a farmer brewers or distillers license, and will be required to source raw material from New York state producers by 2019.
Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, said the project “supports the growth of New York’s booming craft beverage industry, provides a vital revenue source to farmers, and answers rising consumer demand for high-quality, homegrown craft beverages.”
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, chairperson of the Regional Economic Development Councils said the statewide funding program empowers the people “who know their communities best” and has is an entity “that is not only successful, but is built to last. Together, we’re restoring downtowns, supporting local businesses and welcoming new residents and new visitors. That’s the story of the REDC’s that everyone needs to know.”
Since the initiative’s inception in 2011, over $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs statewide, officials said.
During Round VII, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), which is composed of state agency commissioners and policy experts, traveled to each of the 10 regions to see firsthand the progress being made by REDC investments. The SIAT received presentations on this year’s proposals from the Regional Councils directly and assessed the implementation of the regions’ strategic plans.
In 2017, all 10 REDCs competed for designation as a “Top Performer.” The five Top Performers will receive up to $20 million in additional Empire State Development grant funding to support priority projects, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region is eligible for up to an additional $75 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.
Other awards in Saratoga County went to:
• Mechanicville, $1 million to be used to install a new storm drainage system on South Central Ave.
• Saratoga Springs, $15,000 to complete a natural resources inventory. The inventory will compile information on natural resources such as: forests, streams, wetlands, and rocky ridges; catalog and map cultural, historic, scenic and recreational assets; assess threats to these resources; and recommend conservation practices. The inventory will enable implementation of the city’s smart growth oriented “city in the county” vision for future development.
• Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park, $75,000 to renovate four existing asphalt tennis courts located at Saratoga Spa Park into clay courts. The project includes the sustainably designed conversion of the asphalt courts into clay and the addition of lights. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the park and the local community.
• Clifton Park, $220,000, to construct 2,160 linear feet of a sidewalk within the northern right of way boundary of Route 146 from Northcrest Drive to the intersection of Tallow Wood Drive and Route 146. The sidewalk will tie into an existing Town Center sidewalk network that has been constructed with private sector investment. As a climate smart community, Clifton Park is committed to infrastructure projects that reduce vehicle mile trips and improve air quality.
• Village of Corinth, $1 million, to replace the existing force main and sewer improvements to support the new River Street pump station and wastewater treatment facility.