North Country Regional Economic Development Council Holds Meeting in Malone to Review Key Initiatives
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) met yesterday in Malone, NY to review the status of existing projects and key initiatives to grow the regional economy, including the Innovation Hot Spots competition. In looking at opportunities to sustain existing economic infrastructure and jobs in the region, the Council also passed resolutions to reflect its support of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center (SLPC) in Ogdensburg, NY, and the Chateaugay Correctional Facility, which are both under review by the State.
The Council received an update on the pending North Country submission in the Innovation Hot Spots competition that will promote the commercialization of academic research and foster innovation by offering startups low-cost and accessible incubator support systems.
In passing the resolution in support of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, Council members cited the long history of the Center and its 500 employees in providing high quality care to North Country residents with mental health needs and the severe economic consequences to families should the only facility of its kind in the region close. The Council also noted the considerable work being undertaken to reduce the operating costs of the Chateaugay Correctional facility through energy alternatives supported in the region.
“As part of the Council’s vision for the North Country, we are intentionally mobilizing the creativity and capacity of the graduates of the outstanding places of higher education across the region and catalyzing the highest rate of small business start-ups in the state,” said Anthony G. Collins, president of Clarkson University and co-chair of the NCREDC. “The Governor’s Innovation Hot Spots program will accelerate the region’s transformation. As part of this transformation, we need to build momentum with new investments and also support the critical services and jobs that provide opportunities to sustain families who want to call the North Country home.”
Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the NCREDC, said the loss of the Psych Center would have a very detrimental effect on the families of children with mental illnesses. “The loss of Adult and Children/Youth inpatient facilities at the Center would have a far reaching impact on the residents of the North Country -- from Clinton County to Jefferson County. In addition to losing valuable jobs in the Ogdensburg area, it would place an undue burden on our North Country families who are trying to access a critical public service and reduce the quality of life for everyone in our local communities. We need to make sure the Governor and his staff know the negative impact this will have on his and our efforts to improve this region.”
Additional Council Actions
In other actions, the council approved resolutions to:
- Transfer the administration of the Tourism Community Transformation Fund and the Digital Theater Conversion Fund from the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation to the Development Authority of the North Country; and
- Support a Round 2 priority project with a change in venue. COR Development Company’s housing project for Fort Drum personnel and families had originally received priority project status for its Carthage Apartments project. However, because the project cannot move forward, it asked the Council for priority project status for its multi-use housing and redevelopment project at the former Mercy Hospital campus in Watertown, NY.
Coming off the successful launch of Governor Cuomo’s Adirondack Challenge in Indian Lake last month, the Council’s Adirondack and Tourism Work Groups also discussed progress towards its vision to use tourism as a driver for economic development, and to elevate the global recognition of the region as one of the special places on the planet to visit, live, work and study. Reflecting the diversity of the North Country economy, the NCREDC also heard a report from its Agriculture Work Group, which represents 4,268 farms in the 2007 agricultural census and nearly $600 million of sales from 1.16 million acres dedicated to farming across the seven counties. The Council also received updates on projects that advanced North Country Pastured, a new USDA approved mobile processing unit, and North Country Food Hub, and Adirondack Meat Company projects among others.
Following the meeting, the Council hosted the sixth of seven public forums across the region to address any questions from the public prior to applicants formally submitting their Consolidated Funding Applications in Round 3. The deadline for CFA submissions is 4 p.m. on Monday, August 12.
The CFA is available online at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/. CFAs will be reviewed by the NCREDC based on their alignment with the Council’s strategic plan and will be reviewed on a technical basis by the State Agency Resource Team.
The NCREDC, which is composed of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York state that serve as a single point of contact for economic activity in the various regions. The NCREDC was named a “Top Performer” in 2012 in addition to their Strategic Plan being named a “Best Plan Awardee” in December 2011. One hundred fifty-two projects across the region have been awarded a total of $193.4 million in state support through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process in the statewide competition. The Plan and priority projects can be found at www.northcountryopenforbusiness.com.
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After two rounds of competitive awards, nearly 1,500 projects are receiving support to put people back to work, get the economy back on track, and restore New York State as the Empire State. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.