Southern Tier wins top prize for Upstate Revitalization Initiative

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Region will receive $500 million over next five years

(ALBANY, NY) – A half-billion dollars is headed the Southern Tier’s way after the region received one of three Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) awards. This is the fourth straight year the Southern Tier has been named a top performer at the Regional Economic Development Council Awards in Albany.

“This is terrific news for the Southern Tier,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who was also part of the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team, the board tasked with reviewing each proposal. “This award is a testament to the excellent collaborative work already taking place in the region. The plan expands on the Southern Tier’s strengths and is proof that the region has what it takes to be a leader in rebuilding Upstate’s economy.”

In addition to the $500 million dollars in state money, the region’s proposal will leverage $2.5 billion in private investments to create more than ten thousand jobs and a $3.4 billion economic impact over the next five years. Four key initiatives will be implemented to create the transformative change sought by the URI. The first aims to attract entrepreneurs, talent, and investment by promoting the Southern Tier’s innovative culture. This involves branding of our communities and the promotion of our natural resources and tourist attractions.

Food and agriculture will be the focus of the second initiative by establishing the region as a leader in agriculture technology and food supply. The plan calls for increasing access to and creating new food processing facilities, expanding distribution by utilizing the region’s location and transportation network, developing new agriculture technologies, and leveraging existing and new funding streams to help expand farms and increase their profitability.

Initiative three will capitalize on existing strengths in advanced transportation equipment manufacturing to develop training and recruitment programs, continue strong research and development collaborations between our colleges and universities and the private sector, and further enhance advanced manufacturing. This sector currently employs more than 11 thousand workers in the Southern Tier with an average annual wage of $73,800; a focus on further development of this industry will create even more sustainable, high-paying jobs.

Lastly, in the spirit of the Southern Tier’s rich history as a hub for new ideas and technologies, three innovation districts will be established to reinvigorate our urban cores. A Binghamton ‘iDistrict’ will center around the Southern Tier High-Technology Incubator, helping new companies focusing on energy, electronics, and health as they start. The Endicott iDistrict will create a new Center for Advanced Manufacturing. This facility will create an infrastructure for advanced design, visualization, and building of new products for area industries. In Johnson City, the Health and Cultural iDistrict will incorporate Wilson Hospital and the new Binghamton University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences to establish the region as a leader in healthcare and associated technologies. All of these districts also include enhancements to neighborhoods through the development of housing and retail.