North Country council preparing for fourth round of regional aid competition with global marketing initiative
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:25 am

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) solidified revisions to its plan for Round 4 of the statewide Regional Economic Development Council state aid allotments at its recent meeting in Watertown.

Members focused on the Global NY initiative, which will recognize and reward plans that incorporate global marketing and export strategies.

NCREDC’s new Global North Country work group and council members discussed the tools and efforts needed to expand exports, international commerce activities and foreign direct investment in the region. Efforts underway now in developing the North Country’s plan also link to the START-UP NY initiative.

Council members were briefed on a proposal for the region’s first mixed-use venue providing cultural arts and learning to the North Country through the Regional Arts and Interactive Learning project (RAIL). The collaboration between the St. Lawrence County Arts Council and the North Country Children’s Museum is slated to occupy a historic building in downtown Potsdam that is owned and partially used by Clarkson University. Plans include the integration of new apartment residences, galleries, studios, arts incubator spaces, community assembly spaces and a “virtual” learning center that will feature entrepreneurial training for business start-ups. It will employ a version of the “hub and spoke” outreach model, used in the NCREDC’s Innovation Hot Spot.

The plan “values and recognizes the role that active arts and cultural centers have in attracting innovators and nurturing innovative clusters for artists and craftsmen to thrive,” said Anthony Collins, president of Clarkson University and council co-chair.

The council was also briefed on the progress of its work groups. The Workforce Development Work Group shared a study conducted by Clarkson University’s Graduate Consulting Group that assessed workforce needs among major employers.

The Public Participation work group said it has a new blog to keep council members, businesses, stakeholders and residents apprised of the latest council updates and activities, including its 2014 events, meetings and plans, as well as other news from around the region. The blog can be found at http://ncredc.wordpress.com/

The council also endorsed a resolution requesting council support for the Vermont Gas development that will bring natural gas to International Paper’s Ticonderoga Mill.

They passed a resolution supporting a bill from Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) and Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D-Theresa) to convey St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center properties in Ogdensburg to the City of Ogdensburg and strongly urged favorable consideration of the bill by the members of the Senate and Assembly.

The NCREDC, which is composed of members from St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Lewis counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York state that serve points of contact for economic activity in the various regions. The NCREDC was named a “Top Performer” in 2013 and 2012, in addition to its Strategic Plan being named a “Best Plan Awardee” in December 2011. There are 222 projects across the region that have been awarded a total of $274.7 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.