July 09, 2009

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Secure Key Subcommittee Approval for $117,500 for City of Buffalo 'Green' Business Incubator

Funding Will Be Used To Convert Grain Elevator Site Adjacent to Ethanol Production Facility, Establishing Clean Business Energy Incubator Project in Buffalo’s “Green Belt”

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government has approved the Fiscal Year 2010 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill. The bill includes $117,500 for The City of Buffalo to convert an historic City-owned grain elevator site adjacent to an ethanol production facility. This funding will establish a clean business energy incubator project in Buffalo's "Green Belt". The bill will now move to the full Senate Appropriations Committee, after which the bill will proceed to the Senate Floor.  Schumer and Gillibrand worked closely with members of the Subcommittee to include funding for the project in the 2010 spending bill.

"This funding is a win-win for the Buffalo region; it creates green jobs and improves the quality of life for New Yorkers and their families," said Schumer. "In tough economic times, it is crucial to the region's economic health that we invest in clean energy infrastructure and give our businesses the tools they need to remain competitive. This funding will give our small businesses a leg up and will bring a much-needed boost for the local economy. I will continue to push at a federal level to bring Buffalo the funding it needs to become a leader in the green energy movement."

"This is a great victory for Western New York," Senator Gillibrand said. "We cannot rebuild our economy without our manufacturers. This establishment of this incubator puts Buffalo on the map for green business technology. During these tough economic times, investing in clean energy infrastructure is a crucial step toward New York's economic recovery."

Federal funding will support one-time capital improvements to establish a clean energy business incubator at the site of a City-owned grain elevator along the Buffalo River.  The site borders ethanol manufacturer, RiverWright LLC and will anchor the City's green energy hub to grow alternative energy technology companies, promote jobs in a rapidly expanding sector, and establish Buffalo as a green energy leader.

The clean energy business incubator program will attract developing and innovative green technology businesses to Buffalo.  Concentrating similar entrepreneurs and small businesses in one location will help leverage private and public resources that promote green energy initiatives.  It will be a key component in positioning Buffalo as a regional and national leader in the green sector - while attracting corresponding "green jobs" to a depressed economy.  With increasingly more federal incentives to promote a new energy economy, it makes sense to bring these small and developing green companies together to help promote design and implementation by offering secondary opportunities and support services.

The incubator project will provide professional office space, receptionist services, and technical assistance preparing marketing strategies, implementing business plans, financing, sharing technologies, and assisting with professional networking opportunities to client tenants.  The City will also work closely with regional higher education research institutions, and seek to ensure that a notable share of new job opportunities is specifically targeted to residents in the local area.

The elevators are badly deteriorated from years of neglect.  The funds requested will primarily be used to restore the historic industrial structure and install utilities at the site, provide shared office space for the incubator project including technical training, and provide analytical and physical testing labs.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand pushed the subcommittee to include funding in the 2010 Appropriations Bill to provide one-time capital improvements to establish a clean energy business incubator in Buffalo. Schumer and Gillibrand noted that the development of clean energy technology and the creation of green jobs is a cost-effective and worthwhile investment.

Next, the appropriations bill will need to be approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, after which it will be sent to the Senate floor. Following approval by the Senate, the bill will move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.  Clearing the Senate Subcommittee is the most difficult step in the process.