Over the past five years, we have seen substantial growth in the Finger Lakes and Central New York region, with the growing job market resulting in a growing population. With completion of Cornellís Agriculture and Food Technology Park, our regions and state are on the verge of becoming an international leader in innovative and emerging technologies that will create even more employment.
When I helped break ground on the project in April 2004, I had high hopes for the parkís impact on Geneva and the Finger Lakes region. The culmination of the 10-year project was construction of the technology center building, so the park was deemed officially completed on Wednesday. We expect it to ensure a positive economic future for the area by attracting high-technology and biotechnology jobs.
The 20,000-square-foot Flex Technology building will provide space for several firms and is expected to create up to 80 jobs initially. When itís at full capacity within 10 to 15 years, the park should be home to 1,000 new employees. So far, eight firms have expressed interest in locating at the site. Additionally, an 85,000-square-foot U.S. Department of Agriculture Grape Genetics facility is expected to be constructed in the park and be available for occupancy in 2006; up to 40 scientists will work at the plant.
The center will allow both new and established companies to move into our area, bringing in jobs and revenue. We can also look forward to the relationship between the center and Cornell University, and the research that will occur as a result.
With the increase of businesses in the area, demand for qualified workers has jumped. This means more and varied job opportunities for many of our residents.
I am very proud that our region will be home to one of the worldís most-advanced research facilities. Career opportunities becoming more and more available to us, and the technology park makes it an even more attractive place to live and work. It not only ensures a great incentive for companies and technology firms to move here, but it guarantees a great future for our families and children.