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Council working to identify priority projects for state aid

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul, and Kevin Law speak

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul, and Kevin Law speak during a meeting of the Long Island Regional Development Council held at Hofstra University Sept. 6, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Wednesday revealed some of its priority projects for this year’s state business aid competition.

They include a new, 47,000-square-foot YMCA at the Wyandanch Rising redevelopment site; a 228-unit affordable-housing project with 24,000 square feet of commercial space in downtown Hempstead; the redevelopment of the Sag Harbor Cinema; and an initiative to create STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) centers at nine regional high schools.

A full list of recommended Long Island projects will be available in early October, according to Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency. The local council announced some of its recommendations Wednesday at a meeting held at Hofstra University in Hempstead.

The council received 230 applications from businesses, local municipalities and nonprofits, according to Empire State Development. Of those, 166 will be considered for the next step in the competition: recommendation to state officials in Albany, who make the final decisions. Some $800 million in aid is up for grabs statewide this year.

The number of Long Island applicants was up from last year, when the council received 178 proposals, the lowest on record for the region since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created the council and nine others across the state in 2011.

“There is more interest in the program” this year, said Kevin Law, co-vice chairman of the Long Island council and president of the Long Island Association business group. “We want to see as many companies or communities participate in the program as possible.”

Winners of the state aid will be determined by their score on a 100-point scale, with up to 20 points from the council and up to 80 points given by state agencies.

In 2016, Long Island won $62 million for 101 projects. Cuomo is expected to announce winners in the Regional Economic Development Councils competition sometime in December.

The local council, created to make recommendations for the distribution of state tax credits and grants, is made up of business executives, union leaders, educators and nonprofit officials.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of 166 local applications for state aid. They are under consideration to be sent on to state officials.

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