Leaders from across the region are working out details of how to solicit economic development ideas to win state funding. The Southern Tier Economic Development Council is competing against six other upstate regions to receive $500 million. That amount was promised to three winners by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January.
The idea of the program is largely based on an investment the state made in Buffalo over the last couple of years – the “Buffalo Billion.” In that plan, state money funded a high-tech manufacturing hub and a bio-medical research facility.
Rich Tobe, Director for Upstate Economic Development, worked with the Buffalo Billion project. He says the Southern Tier could learn a few lessons from it.
“At Buffalo, we had to find a way to put together a plan where there was a consensus," said Tobe. "And the results of the plan would not touch everybody equally. Some people would be benefited. Some people not so fast. But we like to think as the region grows, everyone would eventually be benefitted.”
The state has yet to release the guidelines and deadlines of the plans.