Workshop Details State Regional Council Funding Program

About 50 people learned more about how to receive funding through the state’s Regional Economic Development Council program Monday.

A workshop was held at Jamestown Community College by state officials detailing how to apply for money through the state Regional Council program. In 2011, the program created 10 regional councils, which were made up of area leaders who would determine which projects were the most vital for economic success for each area. The councils then applied for state funding under a new consolidated-funding formula, which made projects eligible for grant money and tax credits. The combined pool of funding totaled around $738 million for 2012. This year, $760 million is available.

The consolidated-funding application was created in 2011 to give economic development project applicants expedited and streamlined access to a combined pool of grant money and tax credits from dozens of existing programs. The consolidated-funding application will be open until Aug. 12. In December, the funding awards will be announced.

Michael Ball, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council deputy director, hosted the workshop on the application process. He said the Regional Council program has streamlined the funding application. He said there are 30 different programs, from 13 state agencies where people and groups can apply for funding.

”Agencies are here to help you throughout the process,” he said.

Ball said the application process is all online, and went step-by-step through the process. The application can be found at apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa. More information on the program can also be found at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

Ball said in each region, there are themes members of the Regional Councils are looking to fund. In Western New York, those themes include preparing the workfoce, implementing smart growth and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

Ball also went over the scoring criteria for the grant program. Western New York priorities include creating and retaining jobs, ideas oriented to young adults and improving the region’s image.

After the workshop discussing the consolidated-funding application, groups were allowed to visit additional worksessions dealing more specifically with different funded programs. One workshop included business assistance that discussed municipal/public infrastructure, workforce development and low-cost power. This workshop was led by officials from state agencies like the Empire State Development Corporation, state Labor Department and the New York Power Authority.

A second workshop included information about waterfront revitalization programs, affordable housing and historic preservation projects. This workshop was hosted by officials from the Council on the Arts, Homes & Community Renewal and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

The third workshop was about energy efficiency and environmental improvements. It was hosted by the New York State Energy, Research & Development Association, Environmental Facilities Corporation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation officials.

The fourth workshop was titled community resources. State officials gave information on programs about looking for government efficiencies and education opportunities. The state Department of Health and Higher Education Services Corporation were two groups leading the discussion during this worksession.

The state program in 2012 awarded $52.8 million to 58 projects in Western New York to improve local infrastructure and create jobs. Specific to Chautauqua County, more than $1.475 million was allocated during the second year of the Regional Economic Development Council program.

Projects Receiving Funding From The State’s Western New York Regional Economic Development Council:

$150,000 for Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. – Westfield Main Street Project

Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. will renovate eight buildings in the village of Westfield. The award will be used for interior and exterior renovations to the eight units. Streetscape enhancements will also be made with funding.

$250,000 for the city of Dunkirk – Main Street Program

The city of Dunkirk will renovate seven buildings in its business district. The award will be used for the renovation of seven units, and a streetscape improvement project.

$350,000 for Dunkirk Bioenergy LLC – Dunkirk Bioenergy Power Generation Project

This project is designed to take advantage of the industrial organic waste stream that exists in a small circumference around the facility site to receive and process organic waste for power generation.

$250,000 for Lopper North America LLC – Manufacturing Low-Emissions Wood-Fired Boilers

Lopper North America will purchase new manufacturing equipment for metal cutting, bending and welding operations necessary for production of the new generation of low-emissions, wood-fired boiler technology.

$375,000 for the village of Bemus Point – Design and Construction of Village of Bemus Point Streetscape Improvements

The village of Bemus Point will design and construct infrastructure improvements including sidewalks and curbs, paving, lighting, landscaping, street furnishings, crosswalk improvements, and wayfinding signage along Lakeside Drive and Main Street in downtown Bemus Point. The project will provide safer access for pedestrians and drivers, support the commercial district and enable expansion of public events by accommodating seasonal visitors whose business is vital to the local economy.

$99,900 for Jamestown Community College – Advanced Manufacturing Machinists Training Program

Jamestown Community College will train 27 unemployed workers as machinists.