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Officials highlight regional development

SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Watkins Glen Area Camber of Commerce partnered with the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce last week for a regional projects update Thursday, April 14 at the Corning Country Club. Judy McKinney Cherry of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED) gave a rundown of several ongoing projects in Schuyler County during the gathering. During her presentation, she highlighted the area's economic growth, along with the progress of several development projects in the area.
Cherry said Schuyler County is in the top 20 percent of counties in the state in growth, noting from 1998 to 2013, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of Schuyler rose 2.4 percent. She stated this has outpaced the growth in all but one of the counties in the same economic area. This region includes Monroe, Steuben, Ontario, Chemung, Bradford, Genesee, Seneca, Wyoming, Wayne, Yates, Livingston, Tioga and Sullivan Counties throughout New York and Pennsylvania. Only Orleans County showed a higher growth rate.
Cherry also addressed the increase in available housing in Schuyler County in the past few years.
"From 2014 to today, housing units in Schuyler County have grown by 10 percent," Cherry said. She said many of these new units are apartments, adding the region has needed new housing options in order to attract Millennials to move into the area. The Water Works Condos and Watkins Glen Middle School Apartments were examples of additional housing projects completed in 2015, while the Watkins Glen Brewery Apartments and Seneca Terrace Apartments were listed as still under construction.
Project Seneca was also on Cherry's talking points during the meeting, as she addressed the scope of the entire development effort. This includes waterfront redevelopment, a waterfront/canal multi-purpose path, marina upgrades and redevelopment, and additional moderate to luxury housing. The project scope also includes east lake beautification of Clute Park, increased access to Seneca Lake from a kayak/canoe launch, connection of the Catharine Valley Trail to the scenic by-way, and work along North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen for traffic improvements and the beautification of the northern gateway into the village. Cherry said the project also aims to create international appeal for area wineries, lodging and restaurants.
"Project Seneca is a world-class sustainable/livable community redevelopment effort that will drive regional economic growth through investment in targeted initiatives along the southern shore of Seneca Lake," Cherry said.
The recently completed repaving of the race track at Watkins Glen International (WGI) was also highlighted by Cherry during the meeting. For photos from this weekend's ribbon cutting, see page 10.
Other speakers included Dawn Burlew of Corning Enterprises, Steve Dennis of the City of Corning, Betsey Hale of Three Rivers Development Corporation, Jamie Johnson of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA) and Mike Krusen of Chemung County Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG).

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