North Country Regional Economic Development Council preparing for next round of competition for state aid
Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 11:55 am

SARANAC LAKE -- The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) made a formal presentation on its progress, achievements and priority projects for the third round of the competition for state aid among regional councils Wednesday.

One project proposal of note in St. Lawrence County is designation of Clarkson University as an Innovation Hot Spot. The project will extend the services and expertise of Clarkson’s Shipley Center for Innovation and the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship to five locations in the region. Clarkson staff will work with developing entrepreneurs on all aspects of business start-up and expansion, including product testing, intellectual property protection, marketing and web presence, in order to help insure the success of new businesses in the region.

“The North Country region came together in an unprecedented way two years ago to develop a vision to lead the economic renaissance of New York’s small cities and rural communities,” said Clarkson University President Anthony G. Collins, co-chair of the NCREDC. “As we enter our third year, the priority projects on the tour reflect the momentum we have created through broad public participation and a shared commitment by all involved to make our vision a reality. The state’s partnership investment in our plan has added velocity to our progress to make the North Country one of the special places on the planet to visit, live, work and study.”

“The North Country certainly did well in the first two rounds of this process,” said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and the other co-chair of the NCREDC. “However, the best is yet to come. Thanks to the remarkable degree of fresh collaboration across the region and the confidence that has developed in our plan and process, we are truly seeing opportunities for building our identified strategic clusters such as biotech and transportation equipment, facilitating an amazing new readiness to develop hotels and attractions in areas like the Adirondacks, securing the long term future of Fort Drum, creating global air connections and more. Plus, our proposal to build an Innovation Network based at Clarkson, which would not have really been feasible just a few years ago.”

The NCREDC is composed of representatives from business, government and education in St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Lewis counties.

The presentation was made to a group of state officials and businesspeople called the “Strategic Implementation Assessment Team.”

In the first two rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the North Country Region was awarded $198 million in state support for 157 projects across the region. Of those projects, more than 92 percent are now underway as a result of funding they received, according to a news release from Empire State Development.

“I commend the North Country Regional Economic Development Council co-chairs and the entire council’s membership for their hard work and commitment to growing the region’s economy,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Regional Council competition awards will be made based on the progress the councils have made in implementing their strategies and the evolution of their strategic plans.

In September, each council submitted to the state its two-year progress report, which provides detail on achievements in implementing its five-year plan.

The NCREDC report includes a description of how the council advanced its plan, revisions to some of strategies and additions to its workgroups, in addition to an implementation agenda and tracking the advancement of priority job creating projects awarded in 2011 and 2012. It also included a list of its 32 priority projects.

To learn more about the NCREDC and its economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

The North Country council’s progress report and full list of endorsed priority projects can be found at www.northcountryopenforbusiness.com.