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New regional group schedules forum on economic development

A new regional development group will hold a public forum on economic development for Erie and Niagara counties from 3 to 5 p.m. next Friday in Wheatfield Community Center, 2790 Church Road.

The Western New York Coalition for Regional Economic Revitalization wants areas throughout the two counties to be designated as pre-approved sites for development under State Environmental Quality Review standards.

Business still would have to follow the same process for development in a particular municipality. The difference would be that SEQR-approved sites would be identified with the municipality, saving a company money by not having to conduct a review.

The idea could attract more business to the region, said organization co-chairman Duane Diggs, a member of Voice Buffalo, one of the agencies in the alliance.

"We want to streamline the process," he said during a news conference Thursday.

The group is planning a pilot project on Grand Island, which was picked because it connects Niagara and Erie counties. And by virtue of being an island, it is isolated and can be studied as a sole entity, said Jane Haenle, a member of Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope, another agency in the coalition.

Others include Western New York Jobs Alliance, Buffalo Niagara Builders Association, Partners for a Livable Western New York, Wheatfield Business Association, the Healthcare Education Project and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

For more information, visit or call 285-3590.


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