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Local businesses buzz about influx of high-tech jobs

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to Central New York on Thursday to announce a $1.5 billion public-private investment into a nanotechnology center at SUNY-IT that will bring more than 1,000 high-tech jobs to the area.

"I think we are definitely on a roll. Things are looking up. A thousand new jobs are coming," said Jerry Kraus, executive director of the Stanley Theater. "Everybody seems to have positive energy right now. It's awesome."

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri called the influx of jobs a much-needed shot in the arm for the local economy, and local businesses are already buzzing.

"If you look back 50 to 60 years ago when we had textiles and when the city was bustling, you're going to see this all over again within the next three to five years," said Palmieri.

From textiles to nanotechnology: The general manager of a local restaurant said this is what Utica has been waiting for.

"When the economy dropped off, you know, we felt it pretty good," said Paul Calogero, the general manager of Ancora.

More jobs in the area, means more business for them.

"More foot traffic for us. For people that come up and down Genesee Street, it means more businesses doing more things," said Calogero. "It means more people coming in, more people checking it out, more people trying food."

Next door, the executive director of the Stanley Theater is sharing the excitement.

"More jobs means more disposable income, people out and about, having fun, coming to the theater, checking out hockey in Utica, just having a good time, going to the restaurants and buying property and adding to the growth of the Utica area. It's great," said Kraus.

"It's a great time to be in the city of Utica," said Palmieri.

This investment will make the Mohawk Valley the second-largest hub for nanotechnology in the state.

Here's a look at the details from Thursday's big announcement:

-- A consortium of six companies will make "Nano Utica" the state's second major hub of nanotechnology research and development.

--The 1.5-billion dollar investment will help create 1,000 new, high-tech jobs, in addition to the 500 already secured for the SUNY-IT campus.

-- The state will throw in$200 million over the next decade to keep the facility state of the art.

-- The jobs will be clean-room jobs.

--This clean room will be a first-of-its-kind in the nation with 56,000 square feet on two levels.

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