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Southern Tier Receives $81.9 Million in Regional Economic Development Council Awards

In Albany Wednesday, all ten regions of New York Start part of the Regional Economic Development Council were awarded a portion of $715.9 million.

This year was the third round of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

The Southern Tier was awarded $81.9 million, and one of the five Top Performer awardees.

The funds will be broken up into approximately 95 projects on a wide variety of concerns, including expanding health care programs, growing job training resources, and supporting projects to boost tourism in the region.

Specifically in Broome County, $1.25 million was awarded to fund infrastructure improvements at the Binghamton Airport.  The project includes the extension of municipal sewer service to the site so that 1,000 available acres can become shovel ready.

"We have companies who would like to develop at the airport, but we need sewer and water access that's better than what we have now.  It's time to do that," said Senator Tom Libous, 52nd district.

"One of the main things has been jobs, jobs, and jobs. And opening up that whole airport corridor having the infrastructure up there, that means jobs," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.

Preston said she is also pleased that a million dollars has been granted for the Office of Energy Development to re-do the parking lot of the county's Public Safety Facility.  It will install pervious pavement, rain gardens, bio-retention, and convert an existing stormwater detention pond into a functional stormwater wetland.  Preston said the project will treat stormwater on site and reduce stormwater runoff.

On the academia side, $250,000 was awarded to create a public/private partnership between Cornell University, Corning Inc., and Binghamton University, called the Southern Tier innovation Hot Spot.  The Hot Spot is to enhance the number of business services and start-up opportunities offered in the Southern Tier.

BU President Harvey Stenger said the Hot Spot will help the university know what companies will want to move into the proposed incubator in downtown Binghamton when it's complete in a few years.

"We thought this year we would build this triangular relationship between those three places and provide staffing support to try to identify the companies," said Stenger.

Governor Andrew Cuomo touted the reason New York has been labeled anti-business is because of its reputation of high taxes.  Cuomo said that has to change.

Libous agrees and said New York needs to give small businesses the opportunity to grow.

"There are a number of tax credits and opportunities within this funding for the Southern Tier that will help small businesses," said Libous.

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