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North Country Regional Economic Development Council Announces Infrastructure Improvements at Higley Flow State Park

(May 24, 2012)

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Announces Infrastructure Improvements at Higley Flow State Park

The North Country Economic Development Council today announced The Friends of Higley Flow, a non-profit support arm of the park, unveiled designs for the new Higley Trails Lodge, an all-season gathering place for park visitors. The Lodge is part of a $500,000 state investment in the park made possible by key economic development initiatives advanced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, including a $60,000 grant through the Governor’s Regional Council initiative and $440,000 in park modernization projects funded by the New York Works initiative.

“As economic anchors in their communities, the North Country’s 10 institutions of higher learning serve as vital resources in attracting new residents, enriching K-12 schools and developing a talented workforce,” said Tony Collins, Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and President of Clarkson University. “This collaboration with the Friends of Higley Flow mobilizes the creativity and capacity of the graduates of our outstanding places of higher education, activates tourism as a driver to diversify our economy and creates new recreational opportunities that highlight our natural environment.”

“The quality of life in the North Country is a key component of economic development, including our recreational assets,” said Garry Douglas, Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. “This is a great example of a project that enhances that component and we are very pleased to see it go forward.”

With the assistance of the North Country Regional Council, The Friends of Higley Flow has been awarded a $60,000 Environmental Protection Fund grant to build the Higley Trails Lodge. The Friends, in cooperation with local elementary and high schools, Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam, and St. Lawrence University and State Parks, will construct the all-season, multi-purpose facility with rest rooms, heat, shelter, classroom and display areas with access for those with disabilities. The lodge will provide a warm resting place for winter visitors to the park, one of the most popular winter park in upstate New York. Visitors are attracted by 12 miles of groomed cross country trails as well as 3 miles of backcountry trails maintained by the Friends and open to the public. The Lodge will host environmental education programs in the summer.

“We're honored to have been awarded this significant grant and are very excited about the project,” said Tom French, President of The Friends of Higley Flow. “Higley Flow State Park is a gem within the State Parks system, used by thousands of people in every season for camping and boating to skiing and hiking. We feel confident that this modern facility will enhance our mission of promoting the Park as an outdoor destination to St. Lawrence County and beyond.” In addition, the park received $300,000 in funding from the Governor’s New York Works initiative to replace the deteriorated shower and restroom building with a newer building to serve half the park’s campground. Work on the building began by Jordstat Construction of Alexandria Bay in April and is expected to be completed this fall. The New York Works fund also provides $140,000 to build a modern, code-compliant playground, conveniently located near the beach.

“The work taking place at Higley Flow is in keeping with the types of improvements visitors will be seeing as the arrive for Memorial Day weekend, the beginning of our peak season,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “This is a great example of how effective the governor’s economic initiatives are in helping the people in regions across New York, providing immediate construction jobs, improving the quality of life, and supporting our critical tourism industry.”

Visited by over 40,000 people annually, Higley Flow is one of 213 state parks and historic sites within the New York State Park System. The park system is an anchor of the state’s tourism economy. Nearly 25 percent of people staying at State Park campgrounds come from out-of-state. A recent study by Parks & Trails New York found the park system generates $1.9 billion in economic activity and supports 20,000 jobs, not including park employees.

The grant awarded to the Friends of Higley Flow is part of a total of $785 million that was awarded last year through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans.

The shower building replacement project is part of the Governor’s comprehensive New York Works initiative to put thousands of people to work by making strategic investments to improve roads and bridges, municipal water systems, state parks and historic sites, and dams and flood control projects. New York Works will provide $89 million, leveraging $143 million in total funding, to rehabilitate state parks, representing the single largest infusion in history of capital dollars for New York's parks.

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.nyworks.ny.gov.

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