By GREGORY ZELLER //
The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council has met its Oct. 1 deadline and submitted its annual progress report/wish list to the Empire State Development Corp., Albany’s main economic-development engine.
The 2018 progress report, titled “Long Island: Completing the Puzzle,” both highlights the efforts of the Long Island REDC since Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched his competitive statewide economic-development program in 2011 and lists the projects the regional council hopes to support with money earned through this year’s eighth funding round.
The Long Island REDC hauled in $84.3 million in state money in 2017’s competition, ranking the Island council as a “top performer” for the fifth time in seven funding rounds.
The projects prioritized on this year’s wish list, spread throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, “advance the region’s growth objectives,” according to a statement from the Long Island REDC.
Including state, private and “other” funding, the council is looking to bring more than $127.8 million to bear on projects that would create nearly 300 new jobs, retain some 370 existing positions and create a 6-to-1 return on investment.
Hofstra University President and Long Island REDC Co-chairman Stuart Rabinowitz said the wish list would go a long way in “helping to improve the lives of all Long Islanders.”
Among the projects on the Long Island REDC’s 2019 to-do list are new investments in “advanced drug-discovery labs” at Stony Brook University and “multi-user labs for fledgling biotech firms” at Farmingdale State College’s Broad Hollow Bioscience Park – both part of a larger effort to “attract a big-dog pharma company to Long Island” – and the creation of a “cyber IT facility” for Suffolk County Community College.
Also on tap: fresh support for “strategic” multifamily housing initiatives; additional funding for downtown parking initiatives in the villages of Northport and Patchogue; job-creation investments in a host of smaller private companies; and backing for a series of educational and promotional activities created by the Long Island Wine Council.
That’s just a sampling of the projects included on the 2018 wish list, which according to Rabinowitz was crafted with current and future socioeconomics in mind.
“Through strategic investments in a variety of key industries such as life sciences and advanced manufacturing, we can ensure the region continues to grow for decades to come,” the REDC co-chair said Tuesday.
“Long Island: Completing the Puzzle” also updates Albany on the status of the myriad projects supported through the REDC competition’s first seven funding rounds and reviews several critical regional economic categories – from unemployment numbers to high school graduation rates to other “key quality-of-life indicators” – offering a thorough snapshot of the Island’s overall economic condition.
“The LIREDC 2018 progress report shows the success of the state’s community-driven model of economic development that drives the opportunity economy,” noted Long Island REDC Co-chairman Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association. “I look forward to continuing to foster strong workforce-development programs and innovative companies throughout Long Island.”
Round Eight of the annual REDC initiative will award more than $750 million in state funding and tax incentives – including up to $150 million in capital grants and up to $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits – to councils in each of New York State’s 10 economic-development zones. The funding awards are slated to be announced by the Empire State Development Corp. in December.