LI economic unit plans region collaboration

The Ronkonkoma-MacArthur Airport transit hub is among several

The Ronkonkoma-MacArthur Airport transit hub is among several projects that are expected to ask for more state aid, Community Development Corp. chief executive Marianne Garvin told a state economic conference Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, in Albany. This is a rendering with a March 2011 request from Brookhaven Town for interest in the project. (Credit: Handout)

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In a bid to win more state aid, local officials plan to champion economic development projects that involve Long Island working with New York's other regions.

Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council told Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday that several initiatives they plan to recommend for state support will not be confined to Nassau and Suffolk counties. The council is vying with nine other regional councils for a share of $762 million in state tax credits and grants to be awarded in the fall.

Cuomo wants the state's 10 regions to collaborate to create jobs and commercial activity. Such cooperation was among the stated goals when he created the councils last year to compete for help from Albany.

The councils presented progress reports to Cuomo during Tuesday's 4½-hour "summit" at the state Capitol.

Their reports focused on applicants for this year's aid competition and how the money awarded in 2011 is being spent. Last year more than 90 projects in Nassau-Suffolk shared $101.6 million; together they are projected to preserve 6,310 jobs and create 904.

Marianne Garvin, a member of the local council as chief executive of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island, noted the 10 regions face the same problems, notably a dearth of venture capital for new businesses and the need for worker training and commercialization of university research into products.

"The strategies and the themes from the westernmost end of the state to the easternmost will provide opportunities for us to collaborate . . . Looking for those opportunities are what we want to do on Long Island, not just focus on projects that are based" in Nassau-Suffolk, Garvin told Cuomo and state agency commissioners.

She also said the local council was likely to ask for more state aid for four projects that garnered 2011 support: the blight-removal initiative Wyandanch Rising, the Ronkonkoma-MacArthur Airport transit hub, the revitalization of downtown Hempstead Village and the Smart Grid electricity project between Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University.

LI Council co-vice chairman Kevin Law, of the Long Island Association business group, said the state's regions should collaborate even as they compete for state dollars. He vowed that the Island's business leaders would work with counterparts in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley to attract more venture capital.

Among the local council's success stories touted by Law to Cuomo were a scallop reseeding program in Peconic Bay and expansion of Amneal Pharmaceuticals in South Yaphank.

Cuomo announced $25 million from the current state budget would be used for grants to expand high-speed Internet access. Applications are now being accepted by Empire State Development Corp.

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