(WKTV) - In 2013, a dark cloud shifted for the Mohawk Valley, as the region celebrated several pieces of good economic news.
The year started out with a grim outlook for Remington Arms. Pressure was high for the gun manufacturer to move out of Ilion, and states were ready to lure the business away. As late as August, headlines in Tennessee trumpeted a Remington Arms plant there, though it was unclear if it would be a new plant or a relocation.
But fears eased in December, when a Forbes article said the company that owns Remington Arms will buy out their unhappy stock holders for $150 million, meaning no more political pressure to sell the gun maker. The plant netted a nearly $80 million contract to produce more than 5,000 sniper rifles for the U.S. military in March, and a $47 million contract in December to produce more than 50,000 R4 carbine rifles for the armed forces of the Philippines.
On May 16, decades of litigation ended with Oneida and Madison County leaders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Oneida Nation leader Ray Halbritter signing an agreement that settled a land claim. The move gave the Oneida Nation exclusive rights to casino gaming within 10 Central New York counties and a deal for the nation to give 25 percent of its net gaming revenue from slot machines to New York State. About 25 percent of that share will be given to Oneida County.
On Oct. 10, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced six global technology leaders committed $1.5 billion to create Nano Utica, an expansion of the Quad C project at SUNY IT that will bring 1,500 jobs. With the announcement came excitement into what this will mean for the area housing market and local businesses. Construction of Quad C is already underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
On Oct. 23, the Utica Comets made their home-ice debut at the Aud, the first time an AHL game had been played there in 20 years. With the team came community pride, a face lift for the Aud, a fan fest featuring Night Ranger and perhaps the biggest treat of all...professional hockey in our back yard.
On Dec. 11, the governor announced the 2013 NYS Regional Economic Development Council Awards, and the Mohawk Valley scored big. Winning the third highest of 10 awards and the "top performer" designation, the area was named the recipient of $82.4 million in state economic development money. The funds are earmarked for 76 projects, including Harbor Point and going toward the Quad C construction.
On Dec. 30, Griffiss International Airport in Rome was named one of six sites in the nation to be a test site for unmanned aircraft. The announcement brings 470 jobs to the Mohawk Valley. One test site is expected to be up in 180 days, but no word yet if it will be the Rome location.