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North Country Regional Economic Development Council Holds First Meeting of the New Year in Potsdam

(February 28, 2012)

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Holds First Meeting of the New Year in Potsdam

Strategic plan implementation, cross regional connections and becoming the lead region for the Adirondack Park were identified as the primary focal points for the coming year at the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s first meeting of the New Year, Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Clarkson University in Potsdam.

The NCREDC’s Strategic Plan was named a “Best Plan Awardee” in December 2011. Some 70 projects across the region through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process were awarded $103.2 million in state support in the statewide competition.

“Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s vision for the regional councils to be a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors, public participation clearly differentiated the North Country plan and its priorities,” said Anthony Collins, NCREDC co-chair and president of Clarkson University.

“Continued public engagement is critical to building the momentum this process has brought to the region for economic growth through the development of innovative partnerships that will benefit our communities for years to come.”

Garry Douglas, NCREDC co-chair and president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, said, “Last fall was centered on the frenzy of creating a first ever plan. Clearly we did it right thanks to the incredible commitment of all of our council members and hundreds of volunteers.

Going forward, we will be focusing on the first year implementation of projects and strategies, the refinement and updating of the plan's content, and building upon the new framework of economic development cooperation which has now been created across the seven counties.”

During the meeting, the council reviewed its Strategic Plan and awards, shared feedback received from the statewide Strategic Plan Review Committee and discussed its next steps, which included committee reorganization and streamlining.

An executive committee -- with membership composed of the two co-chairs and a representative from each of the seven counties in the region -- will be appointed soon. The committee will serve as an advisory group to Collins, Douglas and Roseanne Murphy, ESD regional director.

The council will also continue to meet on at least a bi-monthly basis for the coming year. Douglas said, “We will be looking to refine the plan so it can be more thorough and concise.”

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council is one of 10 regional councils across New York that serve as a single point of contact for economic activity in the region, which is composed of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Its Strategic Plan, “Transformational: Leading the Economic Renaissance of New York’s Small Cities and Rural Communities,” provides a long-term roadmap to attract private investment, promote and facilitate connectivity between communities, revitalize and diversify communities, and create a climate that will allow entrepreneurs to flourish.

It puts forth ways to achieve its vision by capitalizing on the region’s shared assets: the iconic 1000 Islands and Adirondacks and incomparable four-season recreational opportunities; crossborder cooperation with Canada; clean water resources; significant agricultural and forest reserves; abundant “clean” energy;; and a talented labor pool and entrepreneurial population.

The Strategic Plan is the product of an unprecedented level of collaboration and cooperation from hundreds of North Country residents across the largest region in the State. The planning process involved regional council members, stakeholders from across the region and community input gathered through more than seven public forums and workshops as well as comment received at council meetings or submitted on the Council’s website. The Strategic Plan can be found at www.northcountryopenforbusiness.com.

Through their strategic planning process, the Council also identified priority projects with a great potential for job growth. The priority projects represent critical opportunities across all seven counties to build upon the region’s strengths and competitive advantages and immediately accelerate job creation and growth. The North Country’s priority projects launch the region’s transformation by focusing on high-tech and traditional manufacturing, green energy production, arts & culture, tourism and agriculture.

Created by Governor Cuomo in July 2011, the Regional Economic Development Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development from a top-down development model to a community-based, performance driven approach which empowers individual areas to develop comprehensive strategic plans that invest in regional solutions to create jobs and economic growth.

Each regional council developed and submitted to the state a plan for the development of their region, which provides a regional vision for economic development, addresses critical issues and opportunities, and lays out an implementation roadmap for future growth. The state works with the regional councils to align state resources and policies, eliminate unnecessary barriers to growth and prosperity, and streamline the delivery of government services and programs to help the regional councils carry out their plans for development.

As part of the regional council process, a Strategic Plan Review Committee was chosen to analyze and rank the strategic plans for each region competing for $200 million in specially targeted economic development funding. In addition to the strategic planning grants made available through the regional council initiative, a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) was created to give businesses and other entities streamlined and expedited access to economic development funding from nine state agencies and 29 existing programs.

Awards made for CFA projects in December 2011 were based on the endorsement of the local regional council and the technical scoring of various state funding agencies. Additionally, eligible applicants will receive funding from NYSERDA's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

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