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ESD approves funding for upstate food and agriculture projects

WBFO News file photo

Empire State Development approved funding for two upstate food and agriculture related measures in their meeting Friday.

Farmers in upstate New York will soon have a new place bring their produce for processing and packaging. The ESD unanimously approved the allocation of three grants to the Growing Upstate Food Hub in Canastota village near Syracuse.

The facility will receive over $2.5-million in funding through an REDC grant to restore a vacant 45-thousand square foot building to house the hub. The project will also receive funding for energy efficiency and a capital grant for equipment.

ESD Central New York Regional Director Jim Fayle said the project was one of their top priorities recently given the region’s strong agricultural base.

“This should stabilize this facility, have it equipped sufficiently enough that it will not need additional support," said Fayle.

Fayle said the project is expected to be completed within 18-months. The ESD also approved $2-million in funding for Niagara County Community College to finance the reuse of the old Rainbow mall in downtown Niagara Falls. ESD Acting Chairman Kenneth Adams said the space will operate as a regional culinary center.

“Bringing students and now restaurants, food lovers and people. You know wine tasting events, other food promotional events right to the heart of Niagara Falls in what otherwise had been a derelict facility in which no one could imagine a future, so in that regard it’s a really terrific project,” Adams.

The Falls project is expected to be completed within the next month and create 30 new jobs.