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Senate GOP will boost high-tech in Genesee; 1,300-acre center to get $2 million

Senate Republicans will unveil funding today to help make a fledgling Genesee County high-technology park more shovel-ready to lure companies.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, will travel to Alabama in Genesee County to make the $2 million announcement with State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, an Erie County Republican who represents the area.

Skelos, who is also attending a re-election fundraiser for Ranzenhofer tonight in Depew, approved the spending from a pot of funds controlled by the Senate Republicans from the state's 2011 budget.

The money will go for design and initial infrastructure work at the Western New York Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park, a 1,300-acre site about five miles off the Thruway.

Genesee County officials dream of modeling the site on a tech park in Malta, Saratoga County -- home to more than $1 billion in state investments over the years that lured a massive chip manufacturing facility and workers from around the world to staff the new center.

"In order to continue to develop the project, we need to continue to invest in it for land acquisition, design and initial road construction," said Ranzenhofer.

The project began in 2008 with $1 million in state seed money obtained by former Sen. Mary Lou Rath, Ranzenhofer's predecessor.

"The ultimate goal is to develop this into the largest site in North America," Ranzenhofer said, noting its access to nearby highways and a natural gas pipeline. "The concept is to make the site available to companies as they did [outside] Albany for companies to engage in science and technology projects."