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10 LI projects win $4.8 million in statewide development contest

Employees process caramel chocolate candy inside the Nassau

Employees process caramel chocolate candy inside the Nassau Candy factory in Hicksville The candy maker and distributor is expanding.  Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

A pallet factory, medical research center at NYIT and additional space for a candy manufacturer are among 10 Long Island projects to win $4.8 million from the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

The funding is the first to be announced in this year’s Regional Economic Development Councils competition. About $750 million in grants and state tax credits will be distributed. News of more than $81 million for 97 projects across the state is to be followed by more announcements in coming days.

Hochul said on Monday the projects were selected because they are "shovel ready" — meaning that construction could start in weeks, not months. In May, then-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said shovel-ready projects would be given priority for funding to help sustain the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

Stuart Rabinowitz, co-vice chairman of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which recommended the projects to Albany, said, "We are confident these projects will occur and live up to their promises" of investment and job creation.

"There were a lot of projects that we looked at where we said, 'Come back when you are more ready,' " Rabinowitz, former Hofstra University president, said on Tuesday. "The downturn in the economy wasn't wasting any time and neither should efforts to improve the economy."

On the Island, a production facility for wooden pallets in Holbrook that’s been proposed by Greenway Products and Services LLC received the most money: two awards totaling $1.5 million.

New Jersey-based Greenway "will invest in the acquisition of a new facility, new equipment and create 40 jobs," state officials said.

The second-largest award — $1.05 million — will go to New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury for a "microscopy innovation center," where research and treatments will be developed for neurodegenerative diseases and clinical depression. A worker training program will also be housed in the $15 million center, the officials said.

The state funding "brings us one step closer to realizing this goal," said college dean Dr. Nicole Wadsworth. She added that the center will be "training the next generation of medical professionals to use cutting-edge technology that could help us solve some of healthcare's most pressing challenges."

Nassau Candy received two awards, totaling $1 million, to support a planned expansion of its factory and warehouse on Duffy Avenue in Hicksville.

The fast-growing manufacturer plans to add 50 people to its workforce of more than 600. It produces and sells chocolate-covered raisins and pretzels, fudge, fruit slices, roasted nuts, hand-dipped chocolate cherries and other treats.

Other notable projects receiving state aid are a commercial fishing dock in Mattituck to serve oyster farmers, a neuroscience laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the expansion of Long Island University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to Yaphank and Molloy College’s School of Nursing to Amityville.

Together, the projects "will advance our efforts to create a research corridor, expand our burgeoning green economy, create more affordable child-care slots and expand our vital manufacturing base," said Kevin Law, co-vice chairman of the local development council and a partner in Tritec Real Estate Co. in East Setauket.

Last month, he was nominated by the governor to serve as board chairman of Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency.

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