North Country development council asks state to look into Potsdam, Canton bypasses; sets priorities for 2013 state aid competition
Friday, September 20, 2013 - 5:49 pm

CANTON -- The North Country Regional Economic Development Council is asking the state Department of Transportation to consider building road bypasses around Potsdam and Canton after a meeting at St. Lawrence University today.

The council approved its 2013 Progress Report and priority project list for Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) Round III.

The report includes the list of priority projects for the NCREDC’s seven-county region that will now be finalized before being submitted to Albany ahead of a Sept. 24 deadline in the competitive process for project aid from the state.

The council also responded to a request to consider a bypass around the Canton and Potsdam areas in St. Lawrence County in order to ease transportation issues and heighten access to economic activities in the region, according to a statement from the council after today’s meeting.

Members passed a resolution to encourage the state Department of Transportation to consider and investigate the option and to include input from the communities and regional interests.

In the third annual round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative to rationalize state aid, up to $760 million in economic development resources are available to applicants through the CFA in 2013.

NCREDC has been a strong performer in the previous two rounds, having secured and amount verging on $200 million in aid and bonuses for its outstanding applications.

In addition, “We have very strong progress to report from years one and two, and an excellent set of projects and strategies identified for the year ahead,” said Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and co-chair, with Clarkson University President Tony Collins, of the NCREDC.

“We have been steadfast in our adherence to an objective process of assessment, planning and decision making that remains free of influence or any consideration other than the shared intent of creating economic prosperity and a high quality of life for everyone who calls the North Country home,” said Collins. “The governor and the state Legislature are to be commended for establishing an economic development investment model that is suited to the unique circumstances, characteristics and opportunities that each region needs to transform its own economy.”

Progress reports will include an update on the implementation of plans submitted in 2011, and details on proposed priority projects and economic development plans for the coming year.

The council identified priority projects for Round III chosen, in part, because they leverage significant private investment and address critical community and economic development needs throughout the seven-county region.

In selecting priority projects, council members used a set of criteria that includes ability to create jobs, capacity to leverage private and non-state investment, and alignment with additional goals in NCREDC’s plans.

The NCREDC, comprising representatives from St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Lewis counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York state that serve as a points of contact for economic planning in the regions.

The NCREDC was named a “Top Performer” in 2012 in addition to their Strategic Plan being named a “Best Plan Awardee” in December 2011. One hundred fifty-two projects across the region have been awarded a total of $193.4 million in state support through the regional initiative in the statewide competition. The Plan and priority projects can be found at www.northcountryopenforbusiness.com.