First batch of Empire State Development grants awarded to 47 shovel-ready projects

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New York Construction Report staff writer

More than $57 million has been awarded to 238 projects across New York State through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

Round XIII also included two new micro grant programs: the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program and the Not-for-Profit Capital Grant Program which awarded over $9.7 million to support 170 craft beverage manufacturers and non-profit organizations throughout the state.

The largest award, $3 million will go to the National Offshore Wind Training Center, Inc. to build a global wind organization training center in Brentwood, Suffolk County to provide safety and technical certifications for everyone working in the offshore wind environment. The project will include pre-apprenticeship opportunities, provide summer programs for high school students in the energy and sustainability fields; advanced manufacturing training programs for youth/adults, and support workforce career pathways with training and certification opportunities. The total project cost is expected to top $11 Million

“New York State is supporting our growing communities by investing in shovel-ready projects that will encourage job creation and help boost local economies,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “The range of these projects reflects crucial Regional Economic Development Council input from the stakeholders who know their local assets and industries best, helping us to make strategic investments to create opportunity in our communities, both now and for the future.”

The application for Empire State Development Grant funds remains open, and applications are being reviewed on an on-going basis until funds are exhausted. Applicants with strong, shovel-ready projects that align with the state and region’s economic development priorities can apply through the Consolidated Funding Application.

This first round of ESD grant projects was recommended by each Regional Council because of the project’s readiness and alignment with each region’s strategic plan. Highlights include:

Discovery Center of Science and Technology – MOST STEM Education Center (Central New York) – $300,000 ESD Grant: Discovery Center of Science and Technology will build out currently unused space (at its Syracuse home) to support the MOST’s mission. The new space will create more classrooms for the MOST’s day camps and programs, STEM Library, and education offices. Total Project Cost: $2.8 Million

The Art Effect of the Hudson Valley, Inc. (Mid-Hudson) – $2 million ESD Grant: The Art Effect will further expand and improve the previously vacant Trolley Barn in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, into an education and youth-focused center for residents to express their talents and further their education. The project will transform the historic Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn gallery into a community arts, culture, and arts workforce development campus with renovations and additional construction. Total project cost: $13 Million

Midtown Utica Community Center (Mohawk Valley) – $450,000 ESD Grant: Midtown Utica Community Center (MUCC) will rehabilitate the rear wing of its community center, allowing for expanded programming and employment services, which primarily serve the refugee, immigrant and low-income youth in a severely distressed neighborhood in Utica. MUCC will launch a new program with Utica City School District to help orient newly arrived refugee, immigrant and youth into the community. Total Project Cost: $1.2 Million

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority – Childcare Center (North Country) – $954,000 ESD Grant: The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority will construct a new childcare facility in Commerce Park in Ogdensburg. It will provide up to 125 new childcare slots to the immediate area, benefiting children, parents, and businesses. Total Project Cost: $4.7 Million

Foodirect, Inc. (New York City) – $1 Million ESD Grant, $1 Million Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit: Foodirect will update and renovate its food distribution center at the Hunts Point Cooperative Market in the Bronx. The renovation will include energy efficiency improvements, a state-of-the-art refrigeration system and modern insulation methods, which will significantly reduce the operation’s carbon footprint. This project will also contribute to the overall development initiative taking place at the Hunts Point Market complex.Total Project Cost: $18 Million

Sportsfield Specialties, Inc. (Southern Tier) – $500,000 ESD Grant, $1.5 Million Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit: Sportsfield Specialties, Inc. (SSI) is a sports equipment manufacturer located in Delhi, Delaware County. SSI will expand its manufacturing operations by utilizing vacant property adjacent to its existing site. The proposed project will include a 60,000 square-foot manufacturing plant expansion with modern equipment, a new office complex, mechanical shop and storage. Total Project Cost: $27.5 Million

Nearly $4.8 million has been awarded to support 108 projects through the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program, designed to increase the production capacity, business infrastructure and profitability of businesses licensed to produce wine, beer, spirits, hard cider and mead in New York State and ore than $4.9 million has been awarded to support 62 projects through the Not-for-Profit Capital Grant program, which supports not-for-profit organizations who provide economic and community benefits in their region to assist with facility improvements and upgrades.

Also, over $1 million has been awarded through the Strategic Planning and Feasibilities Studies Program. These awards support 21 projects through working capital grants to support strategic development plans for a municipalities and counties, and assessment and planning feasibility studies.

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