The spirit of giving was in the air last week in Albany when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the winners of the third round of his Regional Economic Development Council initiative—and Long Island came out on top with $83 million to be shared among 98 local projects.
Since the program began in 2011, Cuomo has awarded $244 million to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which competes with regions across the state for these special grants tailor-made to “create jobs and support economic growth,” as the governor’s press office put it.
“We are transforming New York State into a top destination for companies from around the world to locate, invest and grow,” Cuomo said. “These efforts have allowed the regional councils for the last three years to pursue economic development projects on the ground across the state, from creating new technologies and supporting innovation to building hospitals and tourism destinations that will further our economic growth.”
The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council is co-chaired by Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz and Long Island Association President and CEO Kevin Law, who noted that the $83 million allocation “was the highest amount of funding awarded to any of the 10 regional councils” created in New York by the governor.
“These Round Three funds will help implement a number of exciting, job-generating projects to improve Long Island’s economy,” he told the Press in a statement, “including a cancer therapeutic discovery center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a Stony Brook University high-tech discovery center, which can capitalize on the new Start-Up NY program, [as well as] matching grants for small manufacturing companies, regionally significant development projects in Glen Cove, Yaphank and Wyandanch, as well as funds to support our agricultural and commercial fishery industries and the arts.”
The influx of state money is welcome news to David Calone, president and CEO of Jove Equity Partners, and an influential investor in the creation of early stage companies on Long Island through the LI Emerging Technologies Fund and Accelerate Long Island. He said the latest round of awards will help foster “the infrastructure of our entrepreneurial ecosystem” because “the industries of tomorrow are in the laboratories of today.”
The biggest share of the money earmarked for LI was the $3.6 million given to C&S Wholesale Grocers, which is planning to build a new automated warehouse in Suffolk for $130 million and ultimately employ 400 people, according to the LIREDC. C&S, which supplies Waldbaums, Pathmark and Stop & Shop stores, had closed its Central Islip warehouse several years ago.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook University each got $2 million in economic development funding for their projects. Brookhaven National Laboratory and Hofstra University got $2 million to get new high performance computing equipment. Hofstra, in particular, is planning a new robotics program at its School of Engineering.
The Enterprise Park in Calverton, known as EPCAL, got $1.3 million to upgrade its sewage treatment plant. Wyandanch Rising received $1 million for its infrastructure upgrades. Other highlights include $2.5 million to construct a road connecting Glen Cove’s downtown and waterfront, $1.5 million for a rapid bus project in Suffolk County and $1.35 million for Long Island Compost’s expansion.