December 9, 2011

Last-place region still funds some Dryden projects

The Regional Economic Development Council awards came out yesterday, and the Southern Tier region, of which Tompkins County and Dryden are a part, received the least funds. Per capita, I'm sure our $49.4 million beat New York City's $66 million, but New York City isn't exactly starving for economic development to start with.

Gannett's "three papers as one" strategy is useful for once, meaning that there is a set of articles on local leaders' response. Compare one from the Ithaca Journal, one from the Elmira Star-Gazette, and one from the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.

$2.5 million of that $49 million will be coming right to Dryden:

$2.5 million to support the Poet's Landing affordable housing project in the Village of Dryden.

I still wonder if the Poet's Landing location across from the high school makes sense - and I'm not sure if that's really "new" money - but it will be the third major building project in the Village of Dryden since this recession came down. (The other two were the new sewage treatment plant and the Lincoln Center expansion of the Southworth Library.)

Some of the rest will be coming to Tompkins County:

  • $1 million to develop the Regional Sustainability Plan for the Southern Tier that will develop a baseline, including greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, assessing sustainability indicators including economic assets, liabilities, and opportunities, as well as transportation, land use, and natural resources.

  • $3 million to support the Rural Initiative Venture Fund, to provide start-up and expansion capital through revolving loan funds and grants.

  • $400,000 for the Tompkins County Housing Rehabilitation program, to renovate homes of 23 low and moderate income residents of Tompkins County.

I'm curious to find out what the Rural Initiative Venture Fund is - that's the piece here that sounds most "economic development" to me.

There will be more next year - New York's Three Men in a Room became Three Men backstage and agreed to it in "a three minute conversation".

I need to spend some time pulling together my thoughts on economic development, but it's hard not to just sputter cynically about anything and everything New York State does in this space.

Speaking of sputtering cynically, the other big news in today's paper is from Wyoming, where the EPA confirms that yes, hydraulic fracking chemicals themselves polluted groundwater. (Update: better article at the New York Times.) I want to see a lot more details before concluding that Dryden's geology offers similar disastrous possibilities, but hopefully this will put an end to people dismissing it without thinking hard about it.

Posted by simon at December 9, 2011 7:43 AM in , ,
Note on photos