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Mohawk Valley's proposed Skydome part of governor's 2020 agenda

A rendering of the proposed Skydome.

Officials in Oneida County are hoping a highly anticipated drone project will get off the ground this year now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included it in his 2020 agenda.

Cuomo said in his State of the State address that New York plans to invest $9 million into building the so-called Skydome. It's a proposed indoor drone testing facility that would be housed at the Griffiss International Airport in Rome. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said officials have been trying to make the Skydome a reality for awhile now in part because it would put the region on the map.

"While there are others, Skydome would be the largest in the United States," Picente said. "It's the benefit of having former Air Force hangars that gives us a leg up, but it needs renovation."

Griffiss Airport is already one of seven FAA-sponsored test sites for commercial drones in the country. The Skydome project would allow them to continue some of those tests year-round. 

This is the latest big announcement for drone development in the central New York area. Just last year, the state finished building a 50-mile drone corridor that runs from Syracuse to the Mohawk Valley, giving companies a chance to test unmanned aerial vehicles in real-world settings.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.