10/22/14: EC DEP, ECIDA Receive Excellence in Economic Development Award

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:25pm

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Gold Award from IEDC Recognizes “Trendsetting Organizations” for Work at Bethlehem Steel Site

ERIE COUNTY, NY—The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (“DEP”) and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (“ECIDA”) have received a Gold “Excellence in Economic Development” Award for their shared redevelopment project at Lackawanna’s Bethlehem Steel site. This $4.4 million project entailed building a new 2-1/2 mile mainline rail spur to service the Port of Buffalo along with the removal of rail tracks along Route 5 that had hindered development of the site. The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on October 20 during the International Economic Development Council (“IEDC”) Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The redevelopment of the Bethlehem Steel site has been a high priority of my administration, and the importance of that site to the continued economic resurgence of Erie County cannot be overstated. Recognition of our hard work by the IEDC is greatly appreciated and is a sure sign that not only are we on the right track, but we are gaining notice worldwide for the transformation we are creating locally,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I would like to thank the many individuals at ECIDA and in the Erie County DEP who worked closely together throughout the rail relocation project, collaborating with private-sector partners and shepherding the plan through to completion. Their award-winning efforts formed the foundation for new investment at the site and gained international attention in the process.”

"Economic development efforts have long been a keystone in the quest to bolster the economy and improve quality of life in every locality across the country," said Bill Sproull, IEDC chair. "As the nation continues to tackle challenges in the midst of global uncertainty, these efforts have taken on an even greater significance. With this award, we laud trendsetting organizations like Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning (DEP) for leading the charge."

IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s top economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Erie County won the Gold Award in the category of Real Estate Redevelopment & Reuse for communities with populations of greater than 500,000.

Bethlehem Steel ceased steel making activities at its plant in Lackawanna, NY in 1983.  Since then this mostly vacant site has changed ownership several times with little investment by its owners.  For years, an active multi-track rail line ran closely parallel to NYS Route 5 on the site, separating the three-mile-long property from public infrastructure.  This rail line became a barrier in attracting new public and private investment into the property. Working collaboratively, the ECIDA and EC DEP removed the rail barrier to allow easier access to the 400-acre parcel and encourage additional investment in the property, including potential rail customers attracted to the new, improved rail service. Erie County obtained project funding from the State of New York and National Grid, while ECIDA managed the construction of the rail project, which was completed in August 2013.

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/

On the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, visit  http://www.ecidany.com/  

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,400 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.  From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, IEDC members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. 

For more information, visit www.iedconline.org