Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Council hears recommendations for Frontier upgrades, other projects

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Soon, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council will have to figure out which of 200 or so projects to recommend to the state for funding. That's approximately the number of applications the council received.

And this afternoon, council members heard presentations from sector-specific work groups about the projects they say should get priority. There were a lot of them, and they ranged from an agriculture-centered revolving loan fund to the purchase of ultra high-tech equipment to be shared by local optics and photonics companies.

The Tourism and Arts work group recommended a couple of big projects for state funding. It threw its support behind Monroe County's application for $2.6 million toward improvements at Frontier Field. Some of the work would be routine maintenance, but the project would also include improvements to make the stadium more appealing to groups who may attend a ball game or for people to use for non-baseball events, said Don Jeffries, president and CEO of VisitRochester one of the work group's co-chairs.

That group also recommended state funding to assist with upgrades at Blue Cross Arena.

The Infrastructure and Transportation work group's priorities included the Western New York Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Park, as well as a planned reconfiguration of the I-390/I-490/Lyell Avenue interchange.

Some of the other large projects recommended by the work groups have received funding in past years. They include:
  • $5 million for High-Tech Rochester's proposed Business Accelerator Cooperative, which would be a space for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Midtown area;
  • $2 million for continued build-out of Eastman Business Park's fermentation cluster;
  • Rochester Institute of Technology's MAGIC Spell Studios, which is seeking $5 million;
  • University of Rochester's Institute for Data Science, which is seeking $5 million;
  • $5 million to modernize chemistry labs at Monroe Community College;
  • $6 million for redevelopment of the Sibley building;
  • $3 million for the second phase of the Rochester Public Market Master Plan implementation.

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