Adirondack Common Ground Alliance Holds Tenth Annual Meeting
It is an annual meeting that brings together government, institutional, environmental, and business advocates to find solutions to issues of common interest across the Adirondacks. The 10th annual Common Ground Alliance meeting last week reviewed a number of issues that could help the economy and environment within the Blue Line.
Over the past decade stakeholders involved with the Common Ground Alliance have worked together to create a common agenda to solve issues facing the Adirondacks. A major initiative is the Adirondack Futures project — a scenario-based plan to help direct policy for the next 25 years.
Adirondack Futures Co-Director Dave Mason says the plan is on track and is fascinated how the meeting stimulates discussion on issues and the park’s future. “There were many more local government people there this year than there have been. And its biggest impact is it gets these people in a room and they talk to each other about a topic of shared interest. It also brings in people who are not in the thick of this every day and bring creative different ideas to the table because they're not wedded to some position they've been holding for years. So it's a way for the region to get new ideas into the mix that’s valuable.”
The meeting’s theme was “Building Blocks for Adirondack Community Success”. Workgroup issues included streamlining the Adirondack Park Agency’s process; leveraging economic investment by capitalizing on Adirondack resources; adaptation to climate change; the opioid addiction crisis; and women in Adirondack leadership positions.
Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe spent his time in the APA workshop. “I brought with me a task force report from 1994. I referred to that in the workshop all throughout the day. And there were many times that issues were brought up where the answer to those issues was right in this task force report. So one of our recommendations was dust off that report, review it, look at what of the recommendations have been implemented and what ones have not been implemented and should they be implemented, and if so why and if not, why not? So that was what I thought was the most important recommendation.”
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism President Jim McKenna facilitated the economic investment workshop. “What was good about this discussion we had town supervisors, we had environmental groups, we had small business and we had mid-sized business and we had outdoor recreational providers as well as the arts communities. If we’re going to utilize growth in the park’s economy we have to again look at our communities and our hamlets in a way that how do we revitalize them? So our discussion centered around coming up with very specific incentives that would drive private investment inside the Blue Line.”
Nearly 200 people attended the meeting in Old Forge including New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.