Optimism is the word for Yates County

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
A slide from the FLEDC Annual Report presentation.

Finger Lakes Economic Development Center’s annual meeting March 25 at the Antique Inn in Bluff Point was a moment of both pride and hope for Yates County.

The pride came in the awards given to the members of the community, both old and new, who have helped bring and build prosperity for the county. Presenting the annual awards were FLEDC CEO Steve Griffin and VP for Community Development Ryan Hallings. Past Vice Chairman/Treasurer Jerry Hiller was presented with a gift of appreciation.

The Community Award was given to Roto Salt and Remée Casting, accepted by 45-year employee Lou Tyrell. The Welcome Award was given to Sandy and Matt Downey of the soon to open Magnus Ridge Winery. The Yates Award went to the Yates County Highway Dept. for their quick work on The Connection call center parking lot, and was accepted by Dave Hartman, Craig Prior, and Lance Yonge. A special surprise award for 20 years of invaluable service was presented to Doreen Jensen.

The hope came in the presentation of the FLEDC annual report. The data on 2010 has seemingly defied the national recession, and heralds a bright future for Yates County, according to Griffin. Capital investment figures topped $65.5 million in 2010, up from just $26.7 million in 2009 and $25.7 million in 2008. The Finger Lakes Museum and Keuka College figured largely in that increase.

2010 also saw a record-breaking 39 economic development projects begun, and almost 1200 jobs created and retained.

Employment levels soared above neighboring counties and state levels in all but manufacturing, but at just a 10 percent decrease, that figure is still far healthier than the rest of the region.

While the temporary closure of the call center and the mothballing of the Greenidge power plant were setbacks, and the proposed $30,000 New York State tax on industrial development centers like the FLEDC must be challenged, Griffin contends that those stumbling blocks are far outweighed by the new opportunities that have come to the Finger Lakes.

A slide from the FLEDC Annual Report presentation.