MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Our Region is Getting Noticed
"Entrepreneneruial Spirit is Driving Buffalo" The Huntington Post
"Millennials Are Moving to Buffalo & Living Like Kings" Gothamist
"For anyone who hasn't been to Buffalo in a few years, it hits you like a sledge hammer" ESPN
All of these quotes, and many more, have been written about our region in the past year. Our region's image is changing and the Buffalo turnaround is now recognized nationally. This was never more evident than last week when I traveled with some of my fellow members of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council to thank the Governor for his support of Upstate New York and to present our Strategy for Prosperity, in hopes that we will receive a $30 million allocation to continue our great work.
We advanced a slate of priority projects that will create new momentum in our region that has famously suffered so long the effects of heavy industry deindustrialization. When AOL founder Steve Case brought his "Rise of the Rest" tour to town a couple of weeks ago, the Huffington Post blogged, "Buffalo, more than many cities we've seen, recognizes that its comeback and future is in its own hands". As a member of the WNYREDC, I can assure you that you are in good hands and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce has a seat at the table!
You may wonder what this means for you. On a macro level, the state has invested nearly $800 million in Western New York, which has leveraged $3.1 billion and retained or created 20,000 jobs. Through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process, the REDC has shepherded 280 projects that were awarded a total of $98 million, and with an impressive award ratio of 5:1. Utilizing a more micro vision, these projects are improving our regional economy which results in more discretionary earnings for our residents, more opportunity for small business start- ups and expansion and a more stable tax base that underwrites all the services that provide us with a high quality of life. I bet some of you are reading this, thinking to yourself, "I haven't benefited from all this. I keep hearing about the economic improvement but I am still struggling." This may be true but today we have opportunity. Today, we are creating new jobs, expanding industry sectors, improving our infrastructure, increasing our tax base. Today, we are cheering the fact that the future looks brighter than any time in the past 4 decades. We still have challenges but we are dealing with them. We are recognizing them and working collaboratively to identify solutions. And, we have the resources to do so. How cool is that?
I left Albany last week, after making the presentation to the Secretary of State, five NYS Commissioners and two state officials with a huge smile on my face. Business leaders from across the state continued to ask us how we did it and how they could emulate it. The Commissioners praised us for our past work and were complimentary about our new plan. The future looks bright for Amherst and the region and we are proud to have played such a large role in establishing the foundation and mobilizing the ongoing actions.
For more information of the Strategy for Prosperity email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.