In New York’s third round of awards to the Regional Economic Development Councils, the North Country was named a Top Performer Awardee and received the fifth highest level of funding.
The six county North Country council will receive $81.3 million dollars in this latest round of competitive funding tailored to the region’s economic development priorities. It is the third year the North Country has been designated a Top Performer, making it the only region in the state to achieve that in all three years of the program. Adirondack North Country Association Executive Director Kate Fish, a member of the council, believes being a Top Performing area allows for many of their priority projects to get funded. “We started off with a very good plan. And then the regional economic development councils, also the region itself , has been very successful in taking the funds that were invested into the region and transforming them into projects that are creating economic value, creating jobs, doing some things in the area that are really benefitting the area. So I think it’s the clarity of goals in the plan and then our ability to adapt as necessary and the percentage of projects that are actually being implemented is extremely high.”
The projects range from large to small, from a $3,360 award to the Pendragon Theatre to $4.5 million dollars to expand the terminal at the Plattsburgh International Airport. SUNY Plattsburgh Department of Economics and Finance Chair Colin Read says all the projects will lead to long-term economic stability.
“The Regional Economic Development Councils are trying to really look at the long term to try to generate long-term jobs, not just the short construction jobs like you might see with roads. So if you look at the projects, all of them have some sort of very long-term investment that’s going to span decades.”
The village of Saranac Lake will receive funding for a number of projects, including money to construct a resort hotel, expansion of biotech facilities and renovation of the Hotel Saranac. Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau says the funds will help stabilize the local economy. “We want to maintain our status as a destination spot in the Adirondacks. And to do that we need good quality lodging facilities. And these two hotels will do just that. They’ll add to the mix that we already have here. And that way we can also attract conferences, smaller conventions. It’s a very competitive environment and that’ll steady for decades to come, hopefully. And then with the Trudeau-Clarkson partnership, that’ll stabilize the eighty or ninety jobs that are already here and they’re predicting another hundred to two hundred additional jobs in the years ahead. So these are exciting times for the capital of the Adirondacks here in Saranac Lake.”
Clinton County Legislature Chair Jimmy Langley, a member of the Regional Council, is pleased that money is being awarded to expand the Plattsburgh International Airport terminal. “Having that money that is a major large chunk of what it was going to take to refinish the area to Homeland Security’s requirements to have internal customs within our own place. I mean we’ll still have to fund it ourselves, the operation of it, for the first two years. That’s a requirement also of entering into it. But it certainly makes the lift a lot easier with that much money.”
Two projects that are regional priorities received $50 million in funding from the state two weeks ago and are not part of this award. The state is providing funds for a partnership between the Trudeau Institute and Clarkson University. The money will also refurbish the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway.