Southern Tier wins big in NY “Hunger Games” competition

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The Southern Tier has won big in what many are calling the NY “Hunger Games”.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the winners of the Upstate Revitalization Competition Thursday in Albany.

The competition awarded 3 out of 7 competing regions around the state $500 million for economic revitalization.

The eight county region that is the Southern Tier will receive the half billion dollars over the next five years.

It’s plan identified 76 projects it would fund with the first $100 million next year.

The Southern Tier proposal features four primary goals:

    -The creation of innovation districts in Greater Binghamton’s urban core

    -A focus on food and agriculture

    -Advanced industries, including transportation and system controls

    -An initiative to promote a culture of innovation

Council Co-Chair Harvey Stenger said win or lose, the real victory came in developing a winning plan.

“Whether we won $100 million a year for 5 years or if this year we were a CFA top performer and got $40 million or $50 million, it would have just taken a little bit longer.  But we had a plan that we could be investing in strategically for the next five or even ten years if we had to,” said Stenger.
 
The priority projects come from across the region, including the downtowns of Binghamton, Johnson City and Endicott, Elmira and Corning, Ithaca and Cornell and the waterfronts in Watkins Glen and Hammondsport.

Co-Chair Tom Tranter said people can expect to start seeing work.

“One of the great things about this whole process is how it’s brought the region all together to work in a unified direction going forward. So, we’re really excited. I think this is the jump-start the Southern Tier needs to really begin to turn the economy around,” said Tranter.

The council will meet at the end of this month to determine how to get the funding process going.

The mood among economic development leaders in the region is starkly better than it was a year ago when the Cuomo administration announced on the same day that fracking would be banned and the Southern Tier wouldn’t get a casino.

Fast forward a year later and it’s a very different story. 

“It’s proven, you cannot give up hope. You’ve got to keep working. A year ago, we were down and out but we’re not there now. We have jobs, we have opportunity. We have a team of people working together. This is a perfect example of not giving up hope,” said Tioga Legislature Chair Marte Sauerbrey.

The Central NY and Finger Lake regions were also selected to win $500 million.

The other regions competing were the Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, and the North Country.

You can see the Southern Tier’s full proposal by clicking here.

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