Western New York Regional Economic Development Council meets for the 1st time in Buffalo

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) met in the city of Buffalo at Buffalo State College on September 14th , 2011 for the first time (first time in Buffalo). Underscoring the fact that Western New York and the city of Buffalo are serious about pumping economic life back into the region, was the sight of a capacity packed room filled with various types of people from the community. Representatives from organizations like V.O.I.C.E. Buffalo, the Partnership for Public Good, Citizen Action NY, Wind Action Group, and many others were in the house. The WNYREDC is one of 10 regional economic development councils that focus on job creation needs specific to their region of New York State. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo created these councils based on the reasoning that each region or locality in the State knows how to better tackle their own economic problems. The WNYREDC is made up of individuals from the local Western New York area who represent the corporate sector, academia, non-profits, community foundations, and local chambers of commerce. The meeting ran from 6-8pm and as mentioned before the room the meeting was held in was packed, so much so that many people had to be turned away. The meeting was nothing extraordinary as a 39 slide power point presentation was the reference point for the evening. The power point listed economic priorities that have been floating around Western New York for a very long time, a who's who of Buffalo's most unimaginative ideas. Some people gave speeches and there was even time left for a few members of the community to give public comment. People were invited to either fill out a public comment card or directed to an online survey to express any concerns. Left out of the conversation were solutions to the big challenges facing this region (like energy efficiency, environmental hazards, and access to fresh food). How do these ideas make it into the conversation and not be left to the "other" box on a survey? “All in all, I think there was some general and genuine interest in making sure the plan that the (WNY) REDC comes up with over the next month reflects some approach to dealing with the region's biggest challenges as a way to create jobs” Said Eric Walker of PUSH Buffalo who actually made it inside the meeting. Thankfully this is only the first meeting and if we collectively speak up things can only go up from here. Here is a link to the REDC website and to the survey let your voice be heard!