Press-Republican

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May 28, 2011

Forever wild, meet forever viable

ELIZABETHTOWN — A Task Force has unveiled priorities that it suggests would strengthen the Adirondack Park, both as a Forever Wild landscape and a forever viable place to live and work.

The five priorities balance economic growth against environmental protection.

The core message in a final report just released by the Blue Line Strategy Task Force states: "The greatest threat to the highly sensitive environment of the Adirondack Park is the continued economic decline of the park's communities."

The Task Force was formed 10 months ago at the request of Adirondack lawmakers in Albany.

The findings call for state-agency redistricting and streamlined regulatory coordination inside the Blue Line that embraces economic initiative.

The report recommends a comprehensive park recreation plan to go hand in hand with economic opportunity.

A FIRM STEP

The strategy also seeks a sustainable fund to upgrade infrastructure in Adirondack hamlets that the Task Force says limit — and even hinder — economic growth.

What is perhaps most notable about the five suggestions is the firm step they take toward a holistic policy.

Members of the Task Force delivered their report to Adirondack lawmakers in Albany and are methodically presenting it to state agencies and local government boards.

George Leveille, fiscal and community adviser for Harris Beach PLLC and president of Lake Placid Lacrosse, is spokesman for the group.

"There are some implementation strategies worthy of note in this," he said. "For instance, development of a park-wide Recreation Master Plan — there is a real opportunity to sew the line with recreational uses together with environmental policy. The park is unique in the way it is regulated and therefore unique in the opportunity for economic growth.

"I think there are real options to develop green economic investment solutions that correspond with the greening of the world."

FULL SPECTRUM

As a member of the Task Force, Carol Calabrese, co-executive director of the Essex County Industrial Development Agency, presented a brief outline of the report to Essex County Board of Supervisors recently.

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