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Finger Lakes Economic Development Council awaits payday


It's a pivotal moment for the region's economy. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council will find out on Thursday if it won one of three state awards of $500 million.

"We're ready," says Greater Rochester Enterprise CEO Mark Peterson. "We're excited about the opportunity that's been presented to us."

If the Finger Lakes region wins, it'll use the money to help the region's promising companies grow, Peterson says.

Seven Upstate regions are competing for the awards through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which is supposed to help the regions rev up their economies.

The regions' URI applications were basically pitches. The councils focused on how they'd invest the state-provided bonanza more so than the specific projects they'd fund; they'll come up with plans for spending the money after they get it. If the Finger Lakes Council wins, it'll accept applications, review them, and prioritize them, Peterson says.

In its application, the Finger Lakes region emphasized the agricultural and food production, high-tech manufacturing, and photonics and optics industries.

All of the state's regional economic development councils have also developed their yearly list of priority economic development projects for which they're seeking state funding. Those awards will also be announced on Thursday.