For decades, Western New York flew under the radar with state leaders and Albany.
Two years ago have proven to be just the opposite. That was when state Gov. Andrew Cuomo committed $1 billion to turn around the economy of Buffalo. A portion of that money, we must note, is also supposed to come to this area.
Buffalo is giddy. There is development in the medical sector and the announcement of IBM and 500 jobs to the Queen City has brought a wave of optimism.
Dunkirk has not been left out. Last December, the governor rode into town to be greeted by more than 500 residents on a snowy Sunday morning. He was overwhelmed by the reception, but understood the area's plight.
NRG Energy Inc. was willing to invest here. Because of that, the governor made it happen.
"This agreement is a prime example of New York state government responding to the needs of the people," Cuomo said last week. "After a detailed and thorough analysis, coupled with enormous support of the community and its elected leaders, the repowering of the Dunkirk power plant is moving forward. I commend all of the involved parties for working closely together to develop a plan that resolved the outstanding issues while also creating jobs, providing a much needed tax base for the community, and helping to create a cleaner environment."
This action alone proves Albany has taken notice of our needs. Now, area leaders and residents must move forward and understand that we can be our own worst enemy.
Cuomo has called for regional efforts, even consolidation of governing entities and authorities. The regional water district for the north county would be a great start.
Dunkirk, which is one of the key players, would be smart to continue in helping the plan to move forward. Cuomo and the state have already given more than $1 million to the water district cause.
If it does not happen, that is a slap in the face to Albany. It will not go over well after the governor's assistance with NRG.
We will have no one to blame but ourselves - and then our leaders.