12.07.99

Schumer Brings Statewide Economic Development Initiative to Syracuse

Schumer Initiative "to work hand in glove with area business, educators, and government to make Central New York a magnet for business."

US Senator Charles Schumer today brought to Syracuse his firstofitskind statewide economic development initiative to help attract new businesses, financial resources, and jobs to Central New York and other parts of the state. In a meeting at the OnCenter cohosted by the Metropolitan Development Association, Schumer met with local business, political and education leaders to develop a plan to spur growth in Central New York.

"   After a half decade of economic decline in Syracuse and Central New York, the local economy has begun to turn around, show some life, and register very real, measurable growth   .   But in the midst of one of the strongest economic booms in our nation's history, Central New York is still lagging behind the nation in job growth and wage growth   ," said Schumer. "   My goal with this Economic Development Initiative is to work hand in glove with local business, educators, and government to identify our strengths and weaknesses in Central New York; promote and enhance our strong points; alleviate our weak points; and make this region a magnet for business, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists "

Schumer kicked off his Economic Development Initiative with a Roundtable in Albany in July and has held similar events in Buffalo and Rochester. A business roundtable is planned for the Southern Tier later this month. Schumer said that these meetings are the beginning of an ongoing, long term plan to work closely with area leaders to attract jobs.

"Each region has their unique strengths and selling points which most of the nation's business community is unaware of," said Schumer. "For example,   Syracuse University is one of the top schools in the country and Syracuse is one of the most Internet connected cities in the country. And airfares, which are among the highest in the nation here, are soon going to come down with the launching of JetBlue Airways and its commitment to Syracuse. JetBlue will take one of the region's major negatives and turn it into a positive. But there are still problems. Property taxes are very high and energy costs are among the worst in the nation. Those two factors are killing us. "

Schumer said a top priority would be to secure a federal grant to create an   Indoor Environmental Quality Research Center in Syracuse. Schumer said Syracuse is the best qualified of any location because the leading companies in air filtration systems are located there. A national air quality center would focus on such diverse areas as developing "clean" rooms, which are necessary to manufacture computer chips and air filtration systems to address the burgeoning asthma epidemic.

"This is important technology that could also create new jobs and new businesses in Central New York," said Schumer.

Schumer has already met with site consultants and business analysts at top Fortune 500 firms to discuss Upstate's strengths and weaknesses. "Many of our strengths are real and many of our weaknesses are perceived," said Schumer. "But one thing is clear. There has been very little coordinated effort to pitch regions of New York to those in the business world who select sites for companies to locate and expand. I am happy to be New York's pitchman."

Attending the opening economic development initiative meeting were   Assemblyman William Magnarelli; Assemblywoman Joan Christensen; Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi; County Executive Nicholas Pirro; Common Council President Matt Driscoll; H. Douglas Barclay, Partner, Hiscock & Barclay;   Metropolitan Development Association Executive VP Irwin Davis;   Community Bank President and CEO Sanford Belden; Pall Trinity Micro President David Berger; Plainville Farms President Mark Bitz; Niagara Mohawk Holdings Inc. President Albert Budney, Jr.; Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce President David Cordeau; Time Warner Cable of Central NY President Mary Cotter; Cornell University VP for Public Relations Hank Dulea; Sensis Corporation President and CEO Judson Gostin; Oneida, Ltd. President and CEO Peter Kallet; BristolMyers Squibb Senior Director of Syracuse Operations Larry Leatherman; WSTMTV VP and Manager James Lutton; Dupli Envelope and Graphics President J. Kemper Matt; Wells College President Lisa Marsh Ryerson; Cornelius Murphy, President and Director, O'Brien & Gere Ltd.; Sinclair Properties General Manager Aaron Olander; Dairylea Cooperative CEO Richard Smith; TDO Solutions President Robert Trachtenberg; Lockheed Martin VP of Business Development Richard Udicious; and Alcan Aluminum Oswego Works Manager Thomas Walpole.

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