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6/13/13: Poloncarz Announces Comprehensive Economic Development Plan


"Initiatives for a Smart Economy" Includes Multiple Initiatives Target 12 Key Areas for Economic Development

Achievable Plan Uses Innovative Thinking, Partnerships to Utilize Available Resources

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by members of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, elected officials, and business, cultural and community leaders as he delivered his “Initiatives for a Smart Economy” address in the Partnership’s boardroom. The address, building on areas of strength initially noted in the County Executive’s 2013 State of the County speech, introduced 64 attainable initiatives spread across 12 major areas, each focused on improving economic development in Erie County. Erie County is either the lead or co-leading agency in each area identified, with necessary partnerships, timelines for achievability, and plans for implementation of each initiative also highlighted in the address.

“These initiatives are a comprehensive and innovative approach to economic development that builds meaningful partnerships across many sectors, harnessing their energies into collaborations that effectively address our region’s challenges while shaping a stronger future,” said Poloncarz. “While Erie County is the lead agency on many of these initiatives, all of them require strong partnerships between  organizations if they are to succeed. We are fostering an innovative attitude that encourages new development and fresh thinking in the Buffalo Niagara region. These initiatives provide a blueprint for realistic, achievable growth and economic development in our community.”

The Initiatives for a Smart Economy build on the framework and direction presented by the Western New York Regional Development Council (“REDC”) in their report, “A Strategy for Prosperity”, as well as their February 2013 report, “A Path to Renewal: Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan” (“the Buffalo Billion”). Among other items, the REDC plan describes issues that affect the overall regional economy and identifies industry sectors that are positioned for growth, while the Buffalo Billion builds on the principles espoused by the REDC and includes smart growth, the inclusion of all sectors of our population in economic recovery, and emphasis on building on our region’s strengths.

The Initiatives cover 12 key areas, each with subsets of actionable items that pertain to economic development in our region. Each identified initiative includes a timeline for completion, the lead agency involved, potential partners, and any resources that may be needed to complete the initiative.  The areas are:

  • Workforce development – Erie County’s workforce development system will be flexible, demand-driven and responsive to regional economic development goals, addressing the needs of job seekers and employers;
  • Smart growth – Erie County shall fully embrace smart growth principles as the guiding tenet when making decisions that affect physical development within the region;
  • Entrepreneurship – Erie County will be home to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports home-grown talent and fosters a sustainable culture of innovation;
  • Agriculture – Erie County will be a statewide leader in undertaking new and innovative programs which elevate agriculture to equal standing with other priority sectors of the local economy;
  • Tourism – By capitalizing on the abundance of natural, cultural and athletic tourism opportunities and assets, Erie County will become the international tourism destination we know it can be;
  •  Energy – Erie County will establish an Energy Management Office to create economic drivers through energy conservation and renewable energy investment;
  •  Bi-national logistics – Erie County shall become the primary destination along the U.S.-canadian border for the distribution of domestic and international goods;
  • ECIDA reform and enhancement – The ECIDA will focus on true wealth creation for the community at large through targeted, strategic investment consistent with NYS law and in the interest of all Erie County citizens;
  •  International trade – by leveraging its unique geographic location, Erie County shall become the primary American home of Canadian subsidiary businesses and the first choice location for foreign investment in the United States;
  •  Land development and redevelopment – Erie County shall re-create a built environment that can grow in a sustainable manner and has available sites and buildings to allow growth in all sectors;
  • Quality of life – Erie County will be a place of choice for residents and newcomers with a quality of life rich in art, history, culture, and sports; public access to parks, natural habitats, and prime waterfront property; and affordable housing, clean water and reliable public safety, and
  •  Blue economy/clean water – Erie County shall invest in the protection and improvement of its water resources.