Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Jamestown Thursday afternoon to announce the state’s commitment to the National Comedy Center (NCC).
“I believe in it. I want to invest in it on behalf of the state of New York, and that’s why we’re going to put $14 million into this complex, and that’s why next year we are signing up the first sponsor – a $500,000 commitment to promote the National Comedy Center through the I love New York Campaign to kick it off as a national tour,” Cuomo told an audience of nearly 200 people.
Specifically, the $500,000 from the state’s tourism department will be used to help promote the opening of the NCC and the 2018 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in various markets across the country.
As the governor noted, the NCC is supported by $14 million in state funding, including $4.4 million from the Regional Economic Development Council and an additional $5 million through the Buffalo Billion ll initiative. The governor said the state’s investment is a sign that the NCC will be a success once its doors finally open.
“ I believe this is going to be a national attraction. You are already hitting it out of the park. You already have the formula that is working. You’re bringing people from all over. You’re tradition to now build on that and literally have a national comedy center that becomes known around the country as the home of comedy. You can develop that and develop that and use that to attract people from all across the country,” Cuomo said.
Joining the governor in making the announcement were several local and state officials, including Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, who said the NCC project is a testament to what can be accomplished when people and groups work together.
“As my dad used to say, it’s not always about what you do, but how you get it done,” Teresi said. “The ‘what’ is significant in this community and what it has done in recent years. The way that it’s been done is even more significant. By people coming together: the public sector, the private sector, the not for profit community. I cannot overstate the importance and the impact of the local philanthropic community coming forward a couple of years ago and saying, ‘We want to engage in economic development.'”
Also taking part in the announcement by the governor was Sen. Cathy Young, Assemblyman Andy Goodell, and New York State Economic Development Director Howard Zemsky. Others on hand included officials with the National Comedy Center, County Executive Vince Horrigan, and nationally known comedian Lewis Black, who was acknowledged several times during the announcement for his contribution and support of the project.
The $50 million NCC campus includes 37,000 square-feet of exhibit space. Construction of the project, which began in August 2015, includes a new 6,000 square-foot building, the renovation of two historic buildings, and an exterior screening area which is adjacent to a Comedy Park. Money for the project also involved the initial renovation of the historic Jamestown Gateway train station.
When it opens in 2018, an economic impact study commissioned by the NCC said it would draw 114,000 visitors annually, support 184 jobs, and infuse $23 million into the local economy.
Cuomo’s public appearance in Jamestown only involved the announcement for the latest funding for the NCC. He did not make himself available afterward to the roughly dozen or so regional media outlets covering the event.