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NYPA backs General Mills bid for Chex brands

Efforts to add production of Corn Chex and Honey Nut Chex cereals to General Mills’ Buffalo plant got a financial boost Wednesday from the New York Power Authority, which approved a $500,000 grant to support the $25 million project.

The Buffalo factory is competing for the cereal lines against four other, more modern General Mills plants. To strengthen the Buffalo plant’s case, the facility wants to purchase new cereal processing and packaging equipment, while also upgrading its systems for ingredient unloading and its large packaging and handling systems.

The grant is in addition to the 5,100 kilowatts of low-cost hydropower and 500 kilowatts of electricity from the ReCharge NY program that General Mills already receives from the Power Authority in exchange for retaining 400 jobs at the Buffalo plant. The latest grant will help the plant retain another 17 positions. Empire State Development also has awarded $500,000 in tax credits to the company.

The Power Authority also approved $380,000 in funding for the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology to support the nonprofit organization’s workforce training and certification programs. The grant will support three years of programming costs at the center, which provides licensed career training in the medical coding and pharmacy technician fields to unemployed and underemployed adults.

Both projects had been recommended to receive funding in February by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board, which administers a fund that supports local economic development initiatives through the use of money raised by the sale of unallocated hydropower from the Niagara Power Project.

The NYPA board also approved $1.7 million in funding for the Explore & More Children’s Museum planned for the Canalside area in Buffalo. The power allocation board recommended in February 2015 that the Power Authority provide the funding for the 40,000-square-foot children’s museum.