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Arts groups to join competition for NY aid

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, who says that

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, who says that not-for-profit groups such as galleries, orchestras, theater and dance troupes and performing arts centers play a critical role in commerce. (April 23, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

Arts and cultural organizations will be included in this year's competition for up to $1 billion in economic development aid from Albany, a top state official said Wednesday.

Speaking after a meeting of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy said not-for-profit groups such as galleries, orchestras, theater and dance troupes and performing arts centers play a critical role in commerce. He said they employ people and foster a quality of life that keeps businesses in New York and attracts them from elsewhere.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo felt it was important to include arts groups in the contest for state tax credits and grants "because they contribute to the economy and many are struggling," Duffy said.

Established by Cuomo, the competition for state dollars is in its second year with awards expected to be announced in September. Last year, Long Island secured $101.6 million for 66 projects, making it one of four big winners out of 10 New York regions.

State officials said Wednesday that developers of three local projects decided not to accept their awards. They are:

Arkwin Industries Inc., a defense contractor in Westbury that received $2.2 million for a new building and equipment for a fighter jet project.

The Caumsett Foundation Inc., which won $400,000 to complete restoration of a polo stable at Caumsett State Historic Site (The funds have been reallocated to two similar projects locally, including a lighthouse.)

Love and Quiches Desserts of Freeport, which received $241,923 for a factory expansion.

The developers couldn't be reached last night.

Duffy said Long Island would probably not lose the $2.9 million in aid. "Our intention is that the money stay in the region if projects can be found that meet the awards' criteria," he told reporters at the council meeting in Manhasset.

That was welcome news to council co-vice chairmen Kevin Law and Stuart Rabinowitz. "It's not surprising that some projects go forward and others don't," said Law, president of the Long Island Association business group. "There is no shortage of projects that we can reallocate the money to."

The pair also pledged to review a letter, delivered at the meeting, about a proposed upscale mall in Syosset on the former Cerro Wire property. Mall opponents asked the council to rescind its 2011 designation of the retail complex as "regionally significant" now that potential tenants have dropped out, most notably Neiman Marcus department store.

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