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Priority projects named by Economic Development Council

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — Two hotel projects and a pharmaceutical firm are among the priority projects chosen by North Country Regional Economic Development Council for the third round of funding competition.

The list of 21 projects was released Tuesday, with three in Plattsburgh: a training program for Bombardier, terminal expansion at Plattsburgh International Airport and SterRx, an expansion of Malone pharmaceutical company Asept Pak that expects to bring 80 jobs to Plattsburgh.

Saranac Lake projects tapped for potential funding are the Bionique building expansion, Hotel Saranac renovation and revival and Lake Flower Lodging construction.

And others in the region are the Inn at Schroon Lake and the Seagle Music Colony Centennial and campus improvement in Schroon Lake and Phase 2 of the Wild Walk at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. 

Some region-wide priority projects include a Consolidated Funding Application for North Country Regional Tourism and for Adirondack-North Country Product Branding. 

HOT SPOT NOMINEE

The council also chose the North Country Innovation Hot Spot at Clarkson University as its entry in the Innovation Hot Spot competition. Five sites will receive funding across New York in this cycle and five more next year.

The council also identified 11 other regionally significant initiatives. Those include Trudeau Institute, the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway and ReEnergy/Chateaugay.

That list was part of the progress report, titled “Velocity,” submitted to the state to meet the deadline on Tuesday. It outlines progress toward implementation of the council’s five-year strategic plan.

‘IN HIGH GEAR’

North Country Council Co-Chair and Clarkson University President Tony Collins said the council has embraced the opportunity Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the council in 2011 “to build a strategic plan suited to our unique circumstances, characteristics and opportunities. 

“Through broad public participation and the inclusion of stakeholders across the seven-county region, the North Country has truly been delivering on its commitment to transform how we approach economic development and collaboration across the region,” he said in a press release. 

“Our commitment to keep the velocity of progress in high gear is buoyed by the quality of projects and innovative ideas coming from all sectors to make the North Country a great place to learn, live and work.”

North Country Council Council Co-Chair and North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the degree of collaboration and teamwork that now exists across the region is remarkable.

“It has allowed us to report extraordinary progress over the first two years and has brought forward a diverse and impactful set of new projects that should prove very competitive,” he said. 

“Thanks is owed to dozens of volunteers who have again contributed an extraordinary amount of time and talent to this process, both council and committee members.”

ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Funding available in the third round includes $150 million in capital. Five of the 10 regions will be named Top Performers and receive $25 million each, with the other five sharing the remaining $25 million.

There is also $70 million in tax credits and up to $540 million from state agencies available through the Consolidated Funding Application process. 

Starting in October, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team will visit each of the 10 regions to hear oral presentations and participate in a tour of each council’s implementation activity and priority projects. 

The tours are intended to make the state’s economic-development process more transparent, open and publicly accessible, the release said. 

Funding awards for the third round of the Consolidated Funding Application process are expected to be announced this fall.

The North Country Council has been extremely successful in the first two funding cycles. It was awarded $90.2 million for 82 projects in 2011 and $103.2 million for 70 projects in 2012.

For more information, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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