IDA: $501M in new investments, 363 new jobs in 2022

Mark Geise

Mark Geise, deputy county executive for economic development and chief executive officer of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, recently provided an overview of the IDA’s activities in 2022.

After discussing the nature and breadth of projects approved by the board in 2022, Geise discussed the economic development team’s top 10 accomplishments in 2022, as well as their top 10 priorities for 2023.

Geise explained that during 2022, the IDA board approved more than 50 projects, which included the approval of loans for businesses, incentives for development projects, and the procurement of grants. Some of these projects included incentives for the $348 million ConnectGen Project in South Ripley; the $42.3 million Electrovaya Project in Ellicott; approval of incentives for the $4.5 million White Inn restoration project in Fredonia; and a myriad of less than 5 megawatt solar projects located throughout the county.

“This has been an epic year,” Geise said. “Through all of the adversity posed by the pandemic and its aftermath, the CCIDA team was once again able to deliver. This was due to the unwavering dedication of an extremely capable staff, board, community volunteers making up our Loan Transaction Committee, consultants, and so many others. We will continue to be aggressive and intentional as we concentrate our efforts on key priorities such as creating shovel-ready sites, re-purposing key vacant buildings throughout the county, and attracting talent.”

In 2022, the IDA approved CARES Act Loan funding for eight businesses throughout Chautauqua County totaling $896,000, which were part of the $10.5 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant received by the IDA in 2020. The IDA also approved nine AL Tech Loans totaling $2.2 million and secured 15 grants totaling $7.9 million. The IDA was involved in projects, loans, and grants that will result in more than $500 million being invested in Chautauqua County projected to create 363 new permanent jobs, retain more than 770 jobs and create hundreds of construction jobs.

Additionally, $2.1 million in PILOT payments were made to the school, municipal, and county taxing jurisdictions in 2022.

Geise also discussed the evolution and successes of the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, which was formed in 2019 as an initiative of the IDA’s non-profit subsidiary, the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation.

CCPEG, which is a public/private partnership, represents the active participation of more than 100 economic development partners from throughout the county. CCPEG is supported by the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, Gebbie Foundation, the IDA, and the county, and is managed by Nate Aldrich. After completing an economic development strategy for the county, CCPEG was awarded a $1.05 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation in 2021. CCPEG convenes and supports business, placemaking, workforce, housing, and infrastructure partners in identifying, developing, funding, and implementing projects that impact the local economy and improve quality of life. CCPEG leads efforts to procure resources to advance a wide array of projects and initiatives consistent with the county’s recently completed Economic Development Strategic Plan.

In 2022, CCPEG focused on advancing 15 priority projects in alignment with the economic development strategy. The partnership also provided more than $420,000 in financial assistance and technical assistance to support several dozen partner-led projects and initiatives that support economic revitalization and long-term strategic investment throughout Chautauqua County. In addition, the partnership was awarded nine grants in 2022, totaling over $1.4 million, and leveraged an additional $7.5 million on behalf of its partners.

Some of the key projects receiving grant funding that CCPEG played a key role in advancing include: an Empire State Development grant for the Chadakoin River Activation Initiative — $361,000; a state Water Infrastructure Improvements Act (WIIA) grant for the Westside Sewer Extension Phase 2 Project — $6 million; an ESD Restore NY grant for the White Inn Redevelopment Project — $1.25 million; an ESD Restore NY grant for the Silver Creek School Housing Project — $1 million; a Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant for the Mayville Waterfront Activation Project — $675,000; and several others.

“I am very pleased with the level of effort and accomplishments of the CCIDA and the extended economic development team, which includes the Partnership for Economic Growth and the County Department of Planning & Development,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “I commend Mark Geise and the CCIDA team for their focus on key strategic matters such as creating shovel-ready sites, repurposing vacant buildings, and reversing population decline through county branding and talent attraction initiatives. While we face ebbs and flows in our local, regional, state, and federal economies, Chautauqua County continues to raise the bar year-after-year when it comes to our local economy through their hard work and intelligent decision-making.”

In terms of aspirations for 2023, Geise discussed his desire for the CCIDA to acquire land for expansion of their shovel-ready site offerings; re-activating several key vacant buildings, including the Furniture Mart Building in Jamestown, Lake Shore Hospital in Hanover, Silver Creek School in Silver Creek, Truck-Lite Building in Ellicott, Lenhart Hotel in Bemus Point, and the large formerly ConAgra-owned building (now owned by the IDA) in Dunkirk; continue to work with the city of Dunkirk, state, and NRG in getting the NRG facility back into productive use; developing a marketing and branding strategy for the county to help address population decline and supply businesses with much-needed talent; and continuing to work with economic development stakeholders and municipalities through CCPEG programming to undertake key projects and initiatives.

“Congratulations to the entire economic development team for all of your dedication and hard work,” said Mike Metzger, Mike Metzger, former IDA board chairman who retired in December. “We have a great relationship with the business community, the municipalities, and the County, and this has proven to be true in the substantial impact that we are making throughout the county. A special thanks to the volunteer CCIDA Board and Loan Committee, as well as the staff and every entity involved with economic development in Chautauqua County for making 2022 a banner year.”


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