Making Progress

Most of the projects in Fulton and Montgomery counties awarded state funding under a new program in 2011 and 2012 are using the money and moving froward.

A few grant recipients chose to reject the money.

The funding was provided by the Empire State Development Corp.’s Consolidated Funding Application awards.

Among Fulton County’s projects that received funding in early rounds of awards from the state was Fage USA’s yogurt plant expansion project in the Johnstown Industrial Park. The project received $750,000 in 2011.

Also, the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency is moving forward with a $2 million award from 2011 for the Tryon redevelopment project.

The IDA?is turning the former state youth detention facility in Perth into a business park.

“The priority projects that have been submitted are really good economic development projects that have cemented our way toward future growth,” said Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese.

Reese has been one of Fulton County’s representatives on the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council since its inception.

Reese said it’s difficult to predict what will happen with a project once it receives the state funding.

“Each project is different when a CFA goes in,” he said. “The companies can request a certain level of funding from the state.”

In Montgomery County, Quandt’s Foodservice Distributors was awarded $903,021 in 2011 for construction of a warehouse.

The company eventually decided not to accept the award. Cisco Systems also acquired Quandt’s.

Empire State Development Upstate Senior Press Officer Jason Conwall said the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, which includes both counties, keeps track of the success of the business ventures.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011 launched this new process for awarding millions of dollars for economic development projects across New York state. It involves the CFAs and 10 regional councils across the state scrutinizing potential projects.

The Utica-based, six-county Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council is currently going through the state’s fourth round of funding awards.

Fulton County is a member of the council, along with Montgomery, Schoharie, Otsego, Herkimer and Oneida counties.

The Mohawk Valley council was awarded $60.2 million for 59 projects in 2011. The council was awarded $59.7 million for 70 projects in 2012.

For 2013, the council was awarded $82.4 million for 76 projects.

Conwall said the state can only provide the public with the status of the first two of the three rounds – 2011 and 2012 – at this time. He also said there are no specific statistics available at this time on job creation.

“We don’t really have them in real time,” Conwall said. “Sometimes, we don’t find out until later.”

The deadline recently passed for municipalities, agencies and businesses to file Consolidated Funding Applications for the 2014 funding, which will be the program’s fourth round.

The state is expected to announce those awards later this year.

Other examples of projects that are moving forward in the two counties are: a $400,000 project in Gloversville to rehabilitate 11 single-family units and six multi-family units in a low-income area; a $425,000 project to revitalize the city of Amsterdam’s central business district; and $75,000 to develop two parks on the south basin of Northville Lake.

One project that is developing slowly is the Tec-Mar project, a $2.5 million effort to raise fish and other aquatic life in the Glen Canal View Business Park. This project would attract $170 million in private investment and create more than 175 jobs, according to the state.

The state says the project has been delayed but is still moving forward.

Kenneth Rose, chief executive officer of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, said the amount of money needed for the Tec-Mar project is the current barrier.

“It’s a very large project,” Rose said. “There’s been some issues such as financing from the investors.”

He said of Montgomery County’s projects: “Pretty much, most of them are moving forward.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.