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Westport gets economic plan

By: LOHR McKINSTRY

WESTPORT — The Westport Town Council wants public input on the municipality’s recently completed arts-based economic-revitalization strategy.

“For the last 10 years, the town has made economic development a priority,” Westport Town Supervisor Daniel Connell said by email.

“The purpose of the economic-revitalization effort is to develop a strategy for Westport and to advance priority projects in the community that will spur revitalization.”

Among the projects envisioned by the plan are revitalizing Main Street; developing a local arts center; coming up with new, arts-oriented uses for the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport; and attracting a brand-name hotel and year-round attractions.

MANY PARTNERS

A public hearing on the Westport Economic Development Strategy is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Westport Town Hall.

Connell said several projects, including hamlet expansion and development of the Economic Revitalization Strategy, have been ongoing with through use of local resources, community volunteers and state grant funding.

The Town Council assembled a team of local, state and regional partners, with assistance from a professional consultant, River Street Planning and Development of Troy, to develop the strategy, Connell said.

Meetings were held over a span of several months.

The town’s partners included the New York State Department of State, the Essex County Industrial Development Agency and the Town Project Advisory Committee, comprising residents of the community and the region.

The report was then put together by River Street Planning and Development and funded in part by the Department of State through a grant provided under the Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

ARTS-BASED STRATEGY

The report proposes Westport go to an arts-based economic-development strategy that would stimulate small-business activity and build on the professional capacity of artists and artisans in the region.

The town would work with the arts community to advance the arts as an economic-development engine, the draft report says.

Westport would attempt to attract cultural tourists, develop artist housing, promote the community as an “Adirondack Art Town” and provide direct support to artists.

In addition, the Westport Heritage House, a former church now used as the town’s visitor welcome center, would be expanded into an arts center and craft gallery to promote the work of local artists, artisans and craftspeople.

“I think it’s a good plan,” Connell said. “It could work for Westport. Now we need to hear from our residents on how they feel about it.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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ARTS-BASED STRATEGY

See the draft of the Westport Economic Development Strategy at www.westportny.net, or find printed copies at the Town Hall, and at libraries in Westport and Wadhams. The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Westport Town Hall.

 

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