BATAVIA — In presenting a State of the State address virtually on Wednesday to Genesee County stakeholders, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said there were economic questions.
Some uncertainty had to do with the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, considering the hard hit the state took because of the pandemic.
“Significant loss of revenues as well as extraordinary expenses — there were questions. ‘Are we going to be able to continue the Regional Economic Development Councils? Can we continue the DRI program?’” she said. “We all know, particularly in a place like Batavia, how critically important that infusion of $10 million is, which we announced back in October ‘18,” the lieutenant governor said. “We’re going to continue those and that’s the good news of this year’s budget.”
Hochul said she’s been to this area recently to look at DRI projects such as Ellicott Place, downtown building improvements such as 99 Main St.
“For so long, these buildings taunted us, and begged for someone to pay attention to them and give them new life,” Hochul said. “I’m really excited about that transforming the City Centre into a market and performance-based (area). That’s going to be fabulous.”
Hochul also touched on the Healthy Living Campus collaborative between Rochester Regional Health and the YMCA.
“These are all great ideas to continue focusing on our downtown where a lot of people continue coming, supporting local businesses the restaurants, who really are still hard-hit from this pandemic,” she said.
Hochul recalled talking at a local farm last summer about the stress farmers are under.
“We’re so grateful that we could continue the Nourish New York Program to help places like that. People who are used to providing to schools and to restaurants, whether they’re crop growers or milk/dairy people ...it’s really hard,” she said during the webinar. “That program is going to continue — it’s really important to us.”
Hochul said aside from doing things to bring people downtown, we should not forget the rural communities.
“The governor mentioned today, he talked to the county leaders yesterday (Tuesday) and said, ‘We’re going to make sure we’re doing this equitably, the distribution of vaccines, and we are not going to overlook the rural areas,’” she said. “That’s an important area that people think is easy to overlook, but I assure you, as someone like myself, who knows the rural areas, very well, that that’s just not going to happen.”
The lieutenant governor said she and Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde talk all the time about the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) project.
“Samsung has been out in the news. We’re all weighing in. I know that’s narrowed down to five venues and Sen. (Charles) Schumer is adamant about trying to win that one, too,” Hochul said.