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WNY development council awarded nearly $53 million

Over $700 million in funding was awarded to the state's ten Regional Economic Development Councils today.  The Western New York council is receiving $52.8 million for 58 projects. That amount is on the lower end of the awards handed out in Albany today and about half of what the region got last year.  The council's top priorities going forward are said to include manufacturing, health care, education, energy and tourism.

Local funding includes $2 million for TheraSyn Pharmaceuticals to expand its existing facility, $1 million for Try It Distributing Co Inc., $460,000 for the Del Monte Foods facility, $268,000 for the Martin House Restoration Corporation, and $376,000 for the Buffalo Zoo's new polar bear exhibit. 

Governor Cuomo says handing out economic development money by region makes sense.

"These are very different areas. Economically, there's almost no commonality. The North Country has one set of assets, New York City another, [and] Western New York another. So there was never one economic template that was going to work," Cuomo said in making the announcement.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says there is a comprehensive plan in place to reinvigorate the region. He praised the work of the Western New York regional council and the governor's 'Billion for Buffalo' commitment.

"I'm very pleased to see what we received. I didn't think we were going to get the largest amount this year like we did last year, because we already have 'the billion' and we received the first $100 million of that. So I look at it, in the grand scheme of things, we still are coming out ahead compared to most regions."

Cuomo says the state's regional approach to economic development is paying off.

"This is working, my friends. It's working," Cuomo said. "You can feel that there is a different energy about New York and there is a different reputation and a different perception. You read it in polls -- optimism is way up, consumer confidence is way up. People believe in the State of New York again."

The largest awards went to the Finger Lakes region, the Southern Tier and the Mid-Hudson Valley, all receiving more than $90 million each.