New York state's 10 economic regions received more than $700 million in new economic development funding on Thursday. The North Country is welcoming its $61.4 million dollar share that will go to 77 projects across the northern tier of the state.
This is the 6th year the Cuomo Administration has distributed millions of dollars to the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils in New York. This time around, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council did as well or better than expected, according to co-chair Garry Douglas. “This was a year where we focused on communities. In the North Country projects tend to be smaller scale but they can be very impactful. On the other hand we're right up there with some of the metro areas once again which shows how this system is continuing to bring unprecedented amounts of state investment into the North Country.”
While the North Country did not receive Top Performer status which comes with an additional $25 million award. Douglas notes that overall the region has had a very good funding year. “This is the year that we also saw $125 million dollars invested by the state in bringing Norsk Titanium here. And this is the year where we saw $10 million dollars awarded to the city of Plattsburgh for its downtown. $10 million dollars for downtown Glens Falls as well.”
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau reports that five projects will receive funding there, including a $2-and-a-half million upgrade to the village water pollution control plant. “Every year for the last six years I’m amazed by the fact that we get the most money per capita than any other district or region. So that's very gratifying. It’s also gratifying that Saranac Lake got 5 out of 6 of the projects that we were applying for. So we’re really excited about that at the local level. But moreover I see these projects coming to fruition around the North Country. Especially through the Tri-Lakes we see the fruit of these grants and it's really making things happen.”
Clinton County Economic Development Director Melissa McManus says her focus has been helping communities fund waterfront development projects. “The program is called the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program but in fact most of our emphasis is on downtown redevelopment and specifically places that are trying to secure more tourism visitation. We see it as an economic development program. So most of the money is headed more into projects that will hopefully yield more tourism expenditures in the region.”
115th District Assemblywoman Janet Duprey represents a portion of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council territory. She disagrees with some of her peers who want to end the competitive process. “I hope that we continue to have these councils the way they are so that it’s local people who know what the projects are, who understand the projects. You know I'm just not sure a bureaucrat sitting in New York City understands a project in the Adirondack Park that's going to hire three new employees is as important to us as something that’s hiring fifty or sixty or seventy employees. So I really really hope this system continues.
The five regions named "Top Performers" that are receiving additional funding are the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Capital Region, New York City, the Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes. The single largest award went to the Mid-Hudson region totaling $83.3 million.