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Finger Lakes REDC Meets At MCC

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The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council held an open meeting on Wednesday at Monroe Community College.

The Council heard a series of reports from volunteer workgroups, which are charged with enhancing the region's competitiveness and monitoring its progress.

The presentations are the first since Governor Cuomo awarded the Finger Lakes $60 million in Round 3 of the Regional Council competition this past December.

University of Rochester president and council co-chair Joel Seligman says Wednesday’s meeting was a good start to selecting the council's top priorities for the 4th Round of state supported funding.

"We’ve got to pick priorities for $225 million list, which is in part what the competition is about, and it's getting harder and harder because there are more great projects coming up through the workgroups," Seligman says. "We are really evolving toward a great strategic plan this year.”

In the first  three Rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Finger Lakes area was awarded $225 million. The 10 Regional Councils will compete this year for as much as $750 million in state grants and loans.

Some of the projects presented on Wednesday included Energy Innovation, Higher Education, Tourism, Infrastructure and Transportation, Workforce Development and a new group on Veterans.

"I think one of the opportunities that the council has is to connect business initiatives with educational initiatives,” says Wegmans Food Markets CEO and council co-chair Danny Wegman. “You might think that might happen on a normal basis, but it doesn’t. So I think that's the one take away that I have from this that I’d like to see if we can't do a better job of."

Co-chairs Seligman and Wegman say the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park, or STAMP, program would be deemed a new priority for the council. STAMP is a 1200 acre, high-tech industrial site slated for Genesee County.

The council is expected to submit its proposal to the state in September.