North Country receives sustainability planning award
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 6:33 am

A plan that maps sustainability strategies for the North Country has received recognition from the Upstate New York Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), a professional institute for certified planners.

Produced as part of the statewide “Cleaner Green Communities” initiative, the North Country’s plan, titled “Our Economy,” is the resulkt of work by a seven-county consortium that was assisted by the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and Ecology and Environment (E&E), and hundreds of participants across the region. The plan outlines the region’s vision, goals and objectives for a sustainability, identifies a number of regional assets and makes recommendations for building on those assets and promoting sustainable management of natural resources.

“Our Economy” is the winner of the Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Sustaining Places for addressing such issues as energy use and efficiency, disaster recovery, green infrastructure, resource conservation, transportation choices and impacts, compact development, density, diversity, revitalization, employment opportunities, and population impacts. ANCA and E&E will accept the award at an event Sept. 26 in Schenectady.

“The region has recognized for years that long-term sustainability strategies play an important role in the overall economic and environmental health of the region. This plan, the culmination of months of effort and input from hundreds of people, is closely aligned with the North Country’s Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) Plan; one of the state’s top four winning plans in 2011, and one of the state’s top performing plans in 2012,” said Kate Fish, executive director for ANCA and NCREDC member.

As part of its overall effort to catalyze economic development and investment in the North Country, NCREDC has assumed leadership in implementation of the sustainability plan.

Anthony G. Collins, president of Clarkson University and NCREDC co-chair said, “The Cleaner, Greener Communities Plan aligns with the North Country Region’s vision to create the greenest and most self-reliant energy economy in the State. The CGC plan is a mechanism to attract private investment and maintain our commitment to the natural environment. I applaud the APA’s acknowledgement of the public participation and engagement of stakeholders across the region that went into this important planning endeavor.”

Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and NCREDC Co-Chair said, “This American Planning Association recognition is testament to the dual purpose of this effort, which is mainly doing many things in not just a cleaner, greener way, but in more efficient and cost-effective ways. The plan point to some real economic opportunities for the North Country related to renewable energy development, for example, and identifies some of the strategies and ingredients that are required, including greener transportation options.”

The state is no longer accepting applications in the first round of Cleaner Greener Communities competitive grant funding. Results will be announced at the end of this year.