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LI wins $59.7M in state aid for building projects

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a meeting announcing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a meeting announcing the development grants for projects of New York State's nine regional councils. Long Island projects netted $59.7 million. (Dec. 19, 2012) Credit: AP

ALBANY -- Long Island Wednesday was awarded $59.7 million in state aid to support building projects and business expansions that will create hundreds of jobs.

But the Island fell short of its goal of placing among the big winners, as it did in 2011, in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's competition among the state's 10 regions for development dollars. Nassau and Suffolk counties received $101.6 million last year.

The big winners of 2012 -- the Finger Lakes, Binghamton, Syracuse, North Country/Adirondacks and the lower Hudson Valley -- each secured more than $90 million in grants and state tax credits.

The Nassau-Suffolk allocation will be divided among 86 projects, including a research center for Winthrop University Hospital, the Wincoram Commons blight transformation project in Coram and expansion of food service giant Whitsons.

There also is money for redevelopment of the Nassau Hub and for training more engineers.

Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council were disappointed their 202-page job creation proposal didn't fare better with state judges.

"We obviously would have preferred to win," Stuart Rabinowitz, council co-vice chairman and Hofstra University president, said after the awards ceremony in a theater here. "We proposed some great projects and [$59.7 million] won't cover them all."

He cited a recent state report showing Nassau-Suffolk had preserved and created more jobs -- 6,128 -- through state-funded developments than any other region.

Kevin Law, council co-vice chairman and president of the Long Island Association business group, added, "We won one round, lost one and we will win next time."

This year, 725 projects statewide received $738 million. Another contest will take place in 2013, though Cuomo aides Wednesday didn't know how much money would be at stake.

Officials said the damage wrought by superstorm Sandy on Long Island, in New York City and in the lower Hudson Valley -- and the billions of federal dollars that will go toward recovery efforts -- played no role in determining how much state development aid those regions received. New York City got $51.3 million for 50 projects.

Asked if the Nassau-Suffolk allocation was impacted by the Oct. 29 storm, Cuomo's economic development czar Kenneth Adams said, "No, these are very, very separate and distinct issues. The regional councils had completed their planning and scoring [of projects] prior to Sandy."

Advocates of redeveloping Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the surrounding Hub parcel hailed the $500,000 going toward infrastructure, though it represents a fraction of the project's total cost. "These state planning dollars will serve as a seed toward growth of new development at the Hub," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

Cuomo, during the ceremony, called for greater efforts to turn inventions from research labs and universities into consumer products.

The governor also decried a "mismatch" between workers' skills and the available jobs, saying 210,000 positions are unfilled statewide. Cuomo said, "We need the skilled workforce and our education system has not, in my opinion, done what it needs, to be on an evolutionary basis to be providing those skills . . . We have more to do there and we can do it."


Long Island has secured $59.7 million for 86 building projects, business expansions and educational initiatives.

The grants and state tax credits were awarded yesterday in a regional economic development competition established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year. The local projects receiving the most:

$3.6 million, Whitsons Culinary Group
$3.3 million, blood products maker Kedrion BioPharma
$2.2 million, retailer Perfumania Holdings
$2.15 million, improvements to Brookhaven’s Swan River
$1.4 million, Wenner Bread Products
$1 million, research institute at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola
$1 million, sewer work for Ronkonkoma-MacArthur Airport transit hub*
$1 million, Wyandanch Rising redevelopment around LIRR station*
$1 million, information-technology service provider mindSHIFT
$1 million, Wincoram Commons blight removal project

Compiled by James T. Madore

Note: *Received funding in last year’s regional economic development council contest

SOURCES: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, Long Island Regional Economic Development Council


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