ITHACA, N.Y. — In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative announced a $4.4 million financial infusion to Tompkins County, to be split among 19 local projects.

The REDC is part of Cuomo’s campaign to increase state investment and economic development. The regional councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government and non-governmental organizations, according to a news release. The awards have taken place since 2011.

About $4.4 million was awarded to Tompkins County this year, a decrease from the nearly $5 million awarded last December, but more than the $3.2 million awarded in 2016. The funding will be used to fund 19 local economic, cultural and quality of life initiatives and projects throughout the county.

The Southern Tier region, comprised of Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties, received $65.4 million in total in support of 101 projects. This year, the Southern Tier region received the second lowest share of funding out of the 10 regions vying for grant dollars. The Central New York region received the post this year, at $88.2 million.

Notably, given the three local priority projects listed in the application, only one, the Ithaca Community Childcare Center, was substantially funded. It received all $790,000 requested. The Indian Milk & Honey Company expansion received none of the $320,000 requested, and the City Harbor project received only $29,575 of the $1,355,018 requested, and that award was given to the City of Ithaca to administer.

A list of funded projects follows below:

Finger Lakes Land Trust, Inc. (with Schuyler County) – $921,000 – The Finger Lakes Land Trust will work to acquire land and conservation easements for six properties within the Cayuga Shallows area. This project will protect a minimum of 260 acres and over 21,000 feet of streambank along Fall and Trumansburg creeks. The amount of nutrients and runoff entering Cayuga Lake will be reduced, including phosphorus that could lead to harmful algal blooms.

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce (with Schuyler County) – $123,500 – Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce will promote agriculinary tourism experiences year-round with a focus on quality craft cider producers, authentic farm visits and expanding seasonal anchor events like Apple Harvest Festival, Finger Lakes Cider Week, Open Farm Days Weekend and Press Bay Holiday Market with the goal of becoming the Craft Cider Capital of New York.

Cayuga Chamber Orchestra Inc. – $30,000 – The Cayuga Chamber Orchestra announces two Arts Career Development Fellowships, specifically created for musicians from underrepresented communities. In partnership with Eastman School of Music, these Fellowships will incorporate performance, education & community outreach, and arts administration.

City of Ithaca (TDM Pilot Project) – $460,397 – The City of Ithaca will transition its transportation demand management (TMD) pilot project to full implementation by creating a TMD Association. The association will continue to work with local employers, transportation providers, and commuters to reduce reliance on single occupancy vehicle use and thereby reduce traffic congestion, parking garage demand, and greenhouse gas emissions. The association will work to change the commuting habits of at least 600 additional individuals by 2022.

City of Ithaca (City Harbor) – $29,575 – The City of Ithaca will partner with a private developer, City Harbor LLC, to improve the Cayuga Lake waterfront. The project will include housing, a restaurant on the point across Cascadilla Creek, seawall construction and new boat slips. Ithaca will also develop a public promenade, a connector path to the Ithaca Waterfront Trail and electric car charging.

Cornell University (Rev Ithaca) – $625,000 – Rev Ithaca supports high-growth startups regardless of their industry sector. In addition to continued incubator services, this project will support the creation of Rev’s Hardware 2.0 program which will provide product-based startups with specific expertise such as design for manufacturing, outsourced product production, supply chain management and quality control.

Historic Ithaca Inc. – $367,172 – Historic Ithaca, in partnership with the City of Ithaca, will restore the exterior of the Cascadilla Boathouse, a circa 1896 building in Stewart Park, Ithaca, New York to prevent further deterioration. The National Register-listed boathouse, originally built for that purpose, is still in use today. This project will make the building weathertight and attractive, and restore its Shingle-Style architectural elements.

Ithaca Community Childcare Center – $790,000 – Ithaca Community Childcare Center will expand capacity and services to address barriers to the workforce for parents by providing after school and part-day toddler and pre-k programming. This expansion will add 4 classrooms, a small gross motor space, relocate the front entrance and offices for better security and centralize operations in order to respond to growing demand for quality and affordable childcare in the Greater Ithaca area.

New Roots Charter School – $38,745 – The New Roots Charter School will construct and restore a wetland on the south end of Cayuga Lake by planting and maintaining wetland plant species. The wetland will improve water quality by helping to filter pollutants entering the lake, including phosphorus that may lead to harmful algal blooms.

Opus Ithaca School of Music Inc. – $30,000 – Opus Ithaca School of Music will expand a Grant Coordinator/Flute Instructor position into the full-time position of Community Engagement and Program Development Coordinator to bring musical opportunities for underserved populations, while organizing existing programs at the organization.

The Cherry Arts Inc. – $25,000 – The Cherry Arts will expand its Artistic Director position from a part-time, project-funded position to a full-time, salaried position, stabilizing and professionalizing the institution’s organizational structure, and creating opportunities for artistic and organizational growth and development.

Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District – $87,774 – The Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District will continue mapping the stormwater systems of the 10 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) communities in Tompkins County, and delineate the associated storm sewersheds. The project will help the communities determine where water is coming from and identify priority areas for projects to reduce flows and erosion and mitigate downstream water quality impacts.

Town of Caroline – $247,568 – The Town of Caroline will remove an aquatic barrier and stabilize streambanks and streambed, as well as
replace the failing culvert on Ekroos Road with a larger culvert. This project will improve aquatic movement and reduce clogging that leads to road closure and damage to town infrastructure.

Town of Danby – $30,000 – Funds will be used to complete a housing needs assessment of the Town’s housing conditions.

Town of Enfield – $340,640 – The Town of Enfield will construct a salt storage facility to cover their exposed salt storage pile. Moving the exposed pile to the new storage facility will prevent contamination of nearby public and private wells, in addition to nearby Enfield Creek, a tributary to Cayuga Lake.

Town of Ithaca – $137,250 – The Town of Ithaca will purchase property to add to the Town’s park system as a nature preserve, available
to the public for passive recreation uses. The purchase and protection of the property will fill in the missing gap between the Town preserves on Culver Road and the Cornell Natural Area to the north creating a large, connected natural habitat.

Town of Newfield (Wastewater Collection System) – $30,000 – The Town of Newfield will complete an engineering report to evaluate improvements to the existing wastewater collection system and absorption field.

Town of Newfield (Water Districts Source of Supply Investigation) – $50,000 – Funds will be used to complete a preliminary engineering report of its water district infrastructure.

Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts – $24,000 – The Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts will hire a new, full-time Executive Director. This position will allow TCFA to expand programming, increase community outreach, and provide organizational leadership.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.