Read the Strategic Plan

MV500 is the unified voice of six counties – Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie – called the Mohawk Valley.

The MV500 strategy for the REDC Upstate Revitalization Initiative has arrived in Albany! Reflecting the voices of thousands from across the six counties of our region, and the efforts of hundreds of community leaders and volunteers, the MV500 plan describes how our region is ready for transformative change. Its strategies lay the groundwork for the URI’s potential infusion of $500 million at a time when the Mohawk Valley is already seeing the beginnings of its long-awaited rebirth. As a strategy document, it describes our potential for meaningful and sustainable growth in STEM-related industries, Agribusiness, and Tourism as well as advancing investments in the Opportunity Agenda and Vibrant Downtowns.

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The MV500 team has created a detailed plan to meet the competition’s criteria, in which “projects exhibiting region-wide impact will be made a priority and should focus on strengthening critical infrastructure, revitalizing communities.” As part of the process, residents of the six counties were asked to weigh in on regional priorities and challenges via an online survey. Following a comprehensive review of regional entries, winners are expected to be announced by year’s end.

“Everything is aligned for the Mohawk Valley to rise up and become a focal point for the entire state,” said Robert Esche, MV500 co-chair. “We put together a remarkable team of people who care about this region, understand how far we have come in recent years and, most important, know just how bright our future will be.”

The MV500 volunteer team is led by Esche, President of the Utica Comets; Alicia Dicks, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Steve DiMeo, President of Mohawk Valley EDGE; Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and CEO; Nick Matt, Chairman and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing Company and Dr. Dustin Swanger, President of Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

“Drawing on success stories from the entire six-county region, MV500 has created a winning plan that builds on existing strengths and targets critical economic development opportunities,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said. “The process itself and the competition are serving to unite Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties as a revitalized region.”

Have a potential Upstate Revitalization Initiative Project? Submit your project idea here: https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/

The percentage of households in Utica where a language other than English is spoken.
The number of miles of recreational trails in the Mohawk Valley
Where Schoharie County's Howe Cavern rates on a statewide listing of New York’s best natural attractions.

What are the keys to revitalizing our region?

I want to see people working in high paying jobs in industries and businesses developing and producing the most modern technological products for sale in the global economy. I want to see a clean and safe community in which to live. I envision a community in which art and entertainment venues thrive.

George Murad

A magic wand waves… all the people, agencies, companies, and governments would start thinking as a single upstate region, take very hard looks and longer-term views, and make very hard choices.

Brett Truett
President & CEO, SoftNoze USA Inc

A community where its residents don’t complain incessantly about where they live, but they talk with pride, become part of the change and decide to love where they live. I would also like to see it become a model for leadership – innovation, creativity, a “why can’t we?!” community vs. a “we can’t…” community. Stop being Eyore and start kicking ass.

Michelle Truett
Founder & President, 484 Design, Inc.

This region was once known for innovation, new technologies, immigration, and as a hub for social change. It needs to grab that identity again.

John Zogby

Our greatest opportunity is that our ATTITUDE is the most important element. And, we can both control it and enact it instantly. Nothing of much substance is holding us back except ourselves.

Rick Short
Marcom Director, INDIUM Corp.

We need to capitalize on NYS’s desire to expand nano from the Capitol Region to the MV.  We need to harness the great pride many have in our area to help realize this goal.    

Barry Sinnott
Bank of Utica

One of our greatest opportunities is the ability to retain our youth and attract other young professionals to our area through greater job creation – we have great colleges and universities – we need to be able to keep these graduates local.

Mike Parsons
CEO, First Source Federal Credit Union

What do you want our region to look like in 2025?

Mixed use downtown with commercial and residential activity in the urban core.  Urban core linked to bike routes and walking trails.  Historic restoration of buildings on Main Street.

Vince DeSantis
Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market

Elimination of blight due to poverty and improved neighborhoods. A strong main street and surviving private, independent business.

Gary Scalzo

Thriving businesses large and small, children returning to the area due to job creation, arts and entertainment, restaurants, recreation and leisure activities, strong/affordable health care, strong housing market, educational collaborations, available social service programs.  Candidly, many of these things exist today, which is why as an outsider coming to the Mohawk Valley I saw many more positives than negatives.

Kevin Crosley

A community that is above the average in health measurements in NYS. That Utica becomes a city people move to rather than out of.

Tim Reed

A vibrant economy with a good job market. A progressive educational system which provides opportunities for all.

Dr. Ed Bradley

I want to see people working in high paying jobs in industries and businesses developing and producing the most modern technological products for sale in the global economy. I want to see a clean and safe community in which to live. I envision a community in which art and entertainment venues thrive.

George Murad

We need more leadership that thinks regionally, even when they’re acting locally. What’s good for one city or town is good for us all; there needs to be more collaboration and less competition. More regional vision(s) and less parochialism.

Ann Rushlo
Executive Directory, Leadership Mohawk Valley