Local impact

The issue | The Southern Tier receives $67.3 million in state funding through the annual regional economic development competition.

The impact | Funds will support 83 projects including a cheese factory in Painted Post and upgrades to Corning’s wastewater treatment system.

By James Post jpost@the-leader.com

The Southern Tier region will receive $67.3 million in state development money, funding significant local projects including a cheesemaker’s move to Painted Post, expansion of programs by the Corning Museum of Glass, downtown development in Elmira and wastewater treatment upgrades.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team made the announcements of total funding to each region at an event Wednesday morning in Albany.

"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," Cuomo said. "These awards are critical to building the foundations for New York's future and ensuring that our economic momentum continues.”

The Southern Tier was not among the regions named top performers, which received up to $20 million in extra funding.

G. Thomas Tranter, co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, was upbeat about the award despite that.

“Once again we did very well,” Tranter said.

He noted that the region, as recipient of the state’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) funding, has an extra $100 million to fund local projects in the coming year.

“In total, we’ve got $167.3 million for projects throughout the region,” Tranter said. “Many of our projects got funded. Some that didn’t, we’ll be able to go back to the URI (funds) and have them considered in that category.”

He said Corning specifically did well in this year’s funding awards.

“The city was a big winner in two regards -- one is the combined funding for the sewer plant, and (also) the Main Street funding for Market Street.”

Among the top-funded projects in Steuben County was the proposal to move Woodhull’s Golden Age Cheese to the former foundry site in Painted Post.

The $10.7 million project received $2.1 million in state funding, the full amount requested.

The project will involve construction of a manufacturing facility as well as a retail store at the site.

Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said that was considered a key project for the county.

“Obviously that’s been on our radar,” he said.

He noted that two significant projects from the Corning Museum of Glass were also funded.

“We have some really cool things going on with the Museum of Glass and the Glassbarge and the (studio) expansion,” Wheeler said.

The museum sought funding in multiple categories to take the Glassbarge, a waterborne hot glass studio used for public demonstrations along the Erie Canal this year, statewide.

CMoG also received $1 million toward an expansion of its glass studio.

Among the projects receiving funding in Chemung County is the 1 Clemens Square commercial development project planned by The Sterling Group along a section of “Old Market Street,” which connects the First Arena and the Clemens Center.

According to the developers, the space will include a full-service restaurant and boutique office and retail space as well as a small business development center which will assist small business and organizations.

Other major projects receiving funding in Chemung County were SEPAC’s acquisition of a company that makes electro-mechanical actuators for aerospace and defense to add to their current business, which received $1.5 million, $760,000 for Salient Management to renovate an existing office building in downtown Elmira in order to relocate existing operations and accommodate additional space needed for growth in sales and employees and $800,000 for Beecher Emission Solution Technologies plans to buy the former Schweizer manufacturing facility in Big Flats to centralize and expand their operations.

“If I had to grade it, I would say for us it was an A-minus,” said Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli, saying a larger total might have raised that grade. “Everything can’t be funded, but we’ve got other avenues to pursue.”

“I certainly was pleased with what I saw,” he added. “I look forward to moving forward and bringing some of these projects to fruition.”

Throughout the area, a number of wastewater treatment and sewer projects received funding as well, including in Erwin, Addison, Southport, Montour Falls, Hornell, Woodhull, Jasper and Painted Post.

Though some priority projects didn’t receive funding, overall officials seemed pleased with the outcome of this year’s round of the competitive state program.

“Under Tom (Tranter’s) leadership a lot of great things have happened,” Wheeler said.

The state handed out a total of $755 million on Wednesday across the 10 regions.

Full list of regional awards

Western New York: $68.8 million for 112 projects

Finger Lakes: $63.9 million for 110 projects

Southern Tier: $67.3 million for 83 projects

Central New York: $86.4 million for 112 projects

Mohawk Valley: $85.5 million for 101 projects

North Country: $64.9 million for 81 projects

Capital Region: $85.0 million for 110 projects

Mid-Hudson: $84.8 million for 113 projects

New York City: $64.8 million for 121 projects

Long Island: $84.3 million for 98 projects