Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that $738 million was awarded through Round Two of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
The Regional Councils were implemented in 2011 to redesign the state's approach to economic development from a top-down model to a community-based, performance-driven approach. A total of 725 projects received second round financing. The Mid Hudson region received $92.8 million for 84 projects and Rockland is home to or participating in six of them.
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) noted Rockland previously received Empire State Development money for the startup of Protein Sciences on the Pfizer property in Pearl River but does not think the county has fared particularly well with Economic Development Council funding.
“The past two rounds of awards were supposed to be administered by a neutral group of stakeholders in the business community but legislators like myself have not had a role in the decision making process beyond appropriating the funds,” said Zebrowski. “In the coming days and weeks I intend on doing a thorough review of the awards and the program. It remains to be seen whether there is a problem with the applications being submitted by Rockland entities or a problem with the implementation of the program.”
In this latest round, the Rockland-based projects include $500,000 for construction by Bon Secours Charity Health System of a medical office building for use as a regional cancer center with labs and doctor’s offices. The New Square Community Improvement Council received $600,000 to construct “The Market Center Construction Project” to house a community grocery store and expand a service organization. The Village of New Square was chosen to receive $750,000 to acquire vacant land for expansion of the Hatzlacha supermarket and the nonprofit SHARE of New Square.
Rockland joins with other counties in three funded projects. The New York/New Jersey Trail Conference for Rockland and Orange will rebuild a trail at Bear Mountain using a $77,444 grant. The work includes rehabilitation of the Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain, restoring its eroded sections and creating an ascent route.
The Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council made up of Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties received $195,000 for a marketing initiative. The Solar Energy Consortium composed of the same seven counties got $1 million for the Center For Global Advanced Manufacturing.
According to the governor’s office, the program’s goal is for community, business and academic leaders and members of the public in each region to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region's unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs and support economic growth