Massena’s Curran Energy, Canton ‘food hub,' Potsdam’s Blueway Trail among projects in $90.2 million funding award
Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 6:33 am

Several St. Lawrence County companies and projects are getting funding as part of the seven-county North Country development plan that was awarded $90.2 in state aid announced Wednesday.

Companies in Massena and Canton, the Village of Potsdam and a local telephone company will share in the multi-million dollar award in state aid for 82 North Country projects and programs in the second round of competitive regional economic development funding totaling $762 million to be distributed around the state.

• Curran Renewable Energy, LLC in Massena, wants to purchase a wood fire combustion chamber that would allow them to burn green wood residue for the wood pellet drying process, improving efficiency by 20 percent. purchase and installation of a 65 MMBtu wood fire combustion chamber will minimize waste in the manufacture of wood pellets for heating fuel. Sponsors envision 10 new jobs created in harvesting, transportation and packaging by Curran and 10 by Seaway Timber, an affiliated company.

• North Country Regional Food Hub, to be located in Canton and sponsored by United Helpers Management Co. of Ogdensburg, plans to establish a 9,000 sq. ft. facility to improve the region’s “local food” environment. It would distribute high quality locally grown and raised products to regional wholesalers, restaurants, grocery stores, food co-operatives, schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions. The facility will be made up of a commercial kitchen, cooler and freezer space, areas for cheese, vegetable and meat processing, and a loading dock for shipping. The project is expected to create 15 new jobs over the first three years of operation.

• Raquette River Blueway Trail Corridor Enhancement, anchored in Potsdam but benefiting St. Lawrence, Franklin and Hamilton counties, would advance the goals and key projects of the Raquette River Blueway Trail Plan, including construction of the Village of Potsdam Raquette Riverwalk, development of an oral history of hydro dam builders in the 1950s, installation of 15 informational kiosks along the Blueway, and provision of handicap access at the Colton Information Center.

• Local telecommunications company Nicholville Telephone’s subsidiary SLIC Network Solutions is slated to receive $1.37 million for installation of broadband lines to provide service to 750 households in Long Lake and the surrounding area in Hamilton County.

The project will require hiring 15 people during construction and five permanent employees, according to the submitted plan.

The round of awards announced Wednesday in an Albany ceremony is the second in two years under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s innovative funding scheme where regional councils pool resources to research and devise plans that would benefit their regions and submit those plans for judging on which programs could net the best return on funding dollars.

The North Country application last year earned the NCREDC a “Best Plan” award and a higher level of funding than other regional competitors.

Wednesday morning the North Country Council was given a “Top Performer Award” for its progress in implementing last year’s plan, earning another enhanced award for this year.

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council comprises the efforts of St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Franklin, Essex, Clinton and Hamilton counties. Clarkson University President Tony Collins and North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas co-chair the North Country council.