Bethlehem gets $3 million in pork

Even in a year of tough economic choices around the state, Assemblyman Tim Gordon managed to get a chunk of state funds for his hometown of Bethlehem.

Gordon, an Independence Party member and party chairman in Bethlehem, secured $3 million in funding for Bethlehem's Vista Technology Park and another half million for the Bethlehem School District.

These types of secured funding by legislators for their districts are commonly referred to as pork barrel funds.

"This money from Urban Development Corporation will go to the town specifically for water and sewer and other infrastructure improvements," Gordon said after the budget passed. "I'm simply delighted. It's smart growth and good economic development."

Gordon noted that the funding was included in the Assembly's budget, which was passed prior to the finalized budget and that he fought to get it included in the final state budget agreement.

"With the Capital Region quickly becoming a leader in technology, this funding will help capitalize on the growth of the technology market," Gordon said in a release. "This technology park can have a tremendous impact on our local economy by creating more jobs and creating a positive spin-off effect into the community."

The funding, allocated through the Urban Development Corporation, was needed to upgrade Bethlehem's infrastructure in order to support the planned technology park.

The Vista campus has been a major focus of Bethlehem's economic development initiatives to boost the local economy. Gordon said the park's main use will be high-technology research, office and development space.

Once completed, he said, it is expected to sustain 5,000 jobs annually and inject $10 billion into the economy over 20 years.

"Companies around the world are actually taking notice, and we need be prepared and have the facility ready because they will come," Gordon said.

Town Supervisor Jack Cunningham took a moment at the end of the Wednesday, April 9, town board meeting to recognize the funding secured by Gordon.

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