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September 28, 2012

Homegrown Sustainability Plan seeks input

PAUL SMITH'S — The Paul Smith’s Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival on Saturday will host the first input session for a regional Homegrown Sustainability Plan. 

The project is being developed locally to inform the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which in turn, will provide resources for community and municipal projects.

Essex County won a $1 million grant to coordinate a seven-county sustainability priority list for the Adirondack-St. Lawrence Seaway and western Champlain Valley communities.

“The Homegrown Plan is a project of NYSERDA, a statewide undertaking built in 10 pieces — one in each of the 10 Economic Development Council areas,” explained Kate Fish, executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association, which was hired to coordinate the community outreach process.

Sustainability plans will develop a sequence of action-oriented goals set locally to fulfill the Cleaner Greener Communities initiative announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November 2011.

“We have established work groups to set goals for the region, looking at how people here define ‘sustainable,'” Fish said.

The overall priority list will target cost-saving ideas and projects being used in homes, schools, businesses and by municipalities to reduce energy costs, develop business and encourage local economic growth. 

“We’re looking at livable communities," Fish said. 

"Definitely a strong piece (of the fact-finding) is focused on renewable energy sources; local food production and distribution; transportation; economic development (and) job creation, (meaning) what is the potential for a growing number of jobs in this clean economy. Part of it is also looking at climate adaptations. What NYSERDA does want, though, is adaptation plans that come from the community.”

ANCA is tasked with developing a regional program before Dec. 31.

The Adirondack North Country Association is hosting several other public-information and input forums at unique events.

The meetings in Essex, Franklin and Clinton Counties are set for:

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