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LI awarded $82M in state business aid

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during the regional economic

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during the regional economic development council awards in Albany on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Credit: Hans Pennink

ALBANY - Long Island Thursday won $82 million in state aid for building projects and company expansions, the second-largest award among New York's 10 regions.

For the second year in a row, the Island was a big winner in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's competition for capital grants and state tax credits aimed at creating jobs. Cuomo appointed Regional Economic Development Councils in 2011 to vie with one another for aid.

While all regions receive some aid, winners in the competition receive the most. The Island has been a big winner three times out of four.

The 2014 allocation for Nassau and Suffolk counties will be divided among 97 projects, including $4 million toward sewer work in eight Suffolk County communities, $2.5 million for a nurse training center at Adelphi University and $1.5 million to convert a Huntington Station armory into a community center.

The largest allocation, in dollar terms, is $4.7 million for a commercial building that is part of the ongoing Wyandanch Rising blight-removal project.

Members of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council said they were thrilled by Cuomo's announcement, made with state lawmakers at a theater near the Capitol.

"The process is working, this is just the beginning for projects that will help all of Long Island," said Stuart Rabinowitz, council co-vice chairman and Hofstra University president.

He also said the state's continued support of Wyandanch Rising should give hope to communities plagued by poverty and unemployment. "We've begun to show that things are possible. Don't give up," he said in an interview.

Kevin Law, co-vice chairman and president of the Long Island Association business group, said in a statement that the award "will provide a nice shot in the arm for our region."

Of New York's 10 regions, the Island, Rochester, Binghamton, Syracuse and Hudson Valley were the big winners of 2014. New York City was again a runner-up; it hasn't ever been a big winner.

This year, $709 million was distributed statewide; up to $750 million was at stake.

"There was an intense level of competition compared with last year," said Kenneth Adams, Cuomo's economic development czar. Of the more than 2,600 applications, 852 received funding.Among other allocations locally were $1 million each for the redevelopment of Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, expansion of drugmaker Contract Pharmacal Corp. in Hauppauge and a program to help young farmers purchase new machinery.

State Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) told the audience that the contest for state business aid had bipartisan support because "whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it's all about job creation."

Cuomo announced that next year he will lead trade missions to five countries, including China and France: "We have a story to tell and we have a product to sell."

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