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December 23, 2002

Members of the Erie-Niagara Regional Partnership (ENRP), a bicounty ad hoc subcommittee of the Erie and Niagara County Legislatures comprised of elected officials and business people from the two counties, unveiled their recommendations for a seamless economic development delivery system in the Buffalo-Niagara Region this morning.

"There is a great need in the Buffalo-Niagara region to streamline economic development services," said Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Dr. Barry A. Weinstein (R-Williamsville), who co-chairs the ENRP. "The goal today in presenting these recommendations is to start the ball rolling toward a 'one-stop shop' for delivery of economic development services."

"In our region, there is a pressing need for us to step back and take a good look at economic development before we can promote cooperation and eliminate duplication," added Niagara County Legislature Chairman Bradley Erck (D-Lockport), who also serves as ENRP Co-Chairman. "I'm pleased that our work has given us a foundation for progressive change in the way we do business in Buffalo-Niagara."

The recommendations come as a result of the efforts of the Economic Development Working Group (EDWG), a subcommittee of the ENRP, chaired by John B. Sheffer II, Director of the UB Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth. The EDWG included representatives of both county legislatures, the Erie and Niagara County and local IDAs, various municipalities, local economic development agencies, and the private sector.

"The EDWG was created in June to assist in the critically important effort to improve the delivery of economic development services in Erie and Niagara Counties, involving a broad spectrum of representatives from both the public and private sectors," said Sheffer. "It has been my privilege to chair this group, and I'm excited about the recommendations that have come as a result of it."

Under Sheffer's leadership, the EDWG studied economic development in the Buffalo-Niagara Region around four primary themes: (1) the current picture, (2) a vision for economic development, (3) a regional economic development strategy, and (4) creation of a seamless "one-stop shop" from the perspective of the consumer of economic development services. Highlights of the recommendations include:

"It is hoped that these recommendations will serve as a blueprint for a deliberate, aggressive program of implementation," said Sheffer. "I know that many of the people and organizations engaged in the EDWG are eager to assist in the allimportant implementation phase."

The recommendations of the Economic Development Working Group are now in the hands of the ENRP, which, as a body, will begin early in 2003 the implementation of these recommendations in cooperation with the Erie and Niagara County Legislatures, as well as the economic development community.