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Brookings Institution unveils Agenda for Economic Development for CenterState New York

By GARY LIBERATORE

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. is a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions.

Friday morning, one of Brookings' leading researchers, Amy Liu, came to Rome to unveil the results of a two year study of the economy in a 12 county region here in CenterState New York.

Brookings worked with numerous organizations from here in the twelve county region which includes Cayuga County, Cortland County, Herkimer County, Jefferson County, Lewis County, Madison County, Oneida County, Onondaga County, Oswego County, Seneca County, St. Lawrence County and Tompkins County.

The Brookings report is called CenterState New York Agenda for Economic Opportunity.

The main organization that helped Brookings put the report together is called CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and is based in Syracuse.

CenterState's president Rob Simpson also spoke on Friday to a packed house inside Griffiss Institute in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

Simpson says it was a busy two years, but it was well worth it, "We want to try to expand the way communities think about themselves and their economic future."

Liu unveiled the report which detailed the findings, strategies for the future and lead initiatives.

Among the initiatives include the following :

Establishing a Date to Decisions Innovation Alliance.  An alliance of organizations whose goal would be to spur growth by taking what is being researched and developed here and getting it into the  marketplace.

Launch a Regional Seed and Venture Fund to raise money from individuals and businesses to help new businesses and entrepreneurs develop their ideas.

Implement a CenterState Export Initiative to elevate the region's profile by enhancing exportable products and targeting foreign markets.

Establish a Commission on Government Modernization to look into reducing the size of local government and ways entities can collaborate to reduce costs.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica was in attendance and welcomed the report with open arms, "They're worldwide known, it's great to have them here in the Utica/Rome region focusing on the needs of our economy, they are the experts, and I think they're advice should be followed and hopefully we can start building on some of the recommendations that they make."

Senator Joe Griffo of Rome was also in attendance and says many of the ideas are not new, but getting them implemented is something that still needs some work, "I applaud the willingness and the interest of all these disciplines from the private sector coming together to say we do need to take on these challenges.  Some of these problems and challenges seem to be recurring, but the opportunity exists now to say, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work and make a difference this time."

Liu told the crowd Brookings received requests from many regions across the country, "We chose to work with the CenterState New York region because of the fact that this region has a strong history of regional collaboration and it has high capacity leadership in the civic institutions, the business organizations, even the local government leaders."

Mohawk valley Edge President Steve DiMeo says it's been an honor to work with Brookings and looks forward to implementing their initiatives to help make the entire region better.

DiMeo says we already have a jump start on many of the initiatives, including streamlining government, "The regional water authority that exists in the eastern part of the county, we've done it in transportation with CENTRO, we have a two county solid waste author,  those are important initiatives.  The County Executive did enter into an agreement with Onondaga County  basically contracting for services there in the medical examiners system, that's an important initiative.  But there's also opportunity to look at where the government can consolidate further whether it's school districts, collaboration within local government to combine services more efficiently."

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