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Study shows local benefits of state investment

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The latest report from the group charged with jumpstarting the local economy shows the millions of dollars invested by the state is having a positive effect. According to the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council's 2013 progress report, in the past 18 months, the state's $58 million investment in the region has induced $630 million in private sector investment, created over 2,100 new jobs and retained thousands more.

Regional Council co-chair Howard Zemsky says he thinks local residents sense that Western New York is on the move.

For Zemsky, the key has been local control.

"If you think about it, historically we were somewhat disconnected from Albany over the past decades, not just geographically but philosophically," Zemsky told WBFO News.

"Now we really have control over our own destiny more than we have in a long time."

Since the Council was created, more than 90 percent of the projects it has approved are on track. 

"I've lived here for 30-some-odd years and I started to wonder whether we would ever turn that corner," said Zemsky, admitting that he had a slightly biased view.

"I feel great that I think we've had tons of input in this process and tons of involvement. Real energy in the community [participation] among industry sectors and community organizations."  
Zemsky says if the Regional Council is allowed to continue several more years, it will produce dramatic change in Western New York.