Press-Republican

November 16, 2012

Trudeau Institute, broadband earn funding

By DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

---- — SARANAC LAKE — Empire State Development has approved $1.2 million in funding for Trudeau Institute, which local officials say will help secure the research facility’s future here.

The Economic Development Fund grant was included in the 2011 award to North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s five-year Strategic Plan. This latest news confirms its final approval.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President and Regional Council co-Chair Garry Douglas said the move “fulfills our aim of directly assisting with Trudeau’s development of a reoriented future with firm roots in Saranac Lake.”

The funds are expected to enable Trudeau Institute to continue operations in Saranac Lake and expand its biomedical research laboratory and programs. That will retain 92 jobs and create three new ones.

The designation is part of the Regional Council’s desire to increase the biotech industry in the Saranac Lake area.

BROADBAND FUNDS

Empire State Development also announced $3.17 million in Innovation Economy Matching Grant money to ION Newco Corp. That Albany-based company is working with the Development Authority of the North Country on its $41 million plan to extend its 750-mile broadband network across the Northern Tier with an additional 1,308 miles of high-speed network infrastructure. The expansion is expected to bring service to more than 70 communities, including more than 250,000 households and 38,000 businesses. 

In addition, Innovation Economy Matching Grants of $2.25 million and $426,000 were announced for Nicholville-based SLIC Network Solutions for a $30 million project in St. Lawrence County and a $5.75 million project in Franklin County. The latter is expected to bring service to an additional 726 households in western Franklin County.

The broadband projects all started in September 2010 and are expected to be complete in March 2014. Lack of broadband availability has long been recognized as one of the detriments to

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

”It is one part of a growing partnership amongst Trudeau Institute, the Regional Council and the state that bodes very well for the future,” Douglas said by email. “Add the finalization of two more broadband projects for the North Country and we have three significant steps forward in the implementation of the Regional Economic Development Plan.”

He thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Empire State Development “for their continuing commitment and collaboration.”

Clarkson University President  and Regional Council co-Chair Tony Collins also welcomed the announcements.

“Clarkson University applauds the grants, as the Trudeau grant builds our regional research capacity, which can translate into commercial opportunities, and the extension of broadband obviously improves our infrastructure and provides a more level playing field for our existing commercial enterprises as well as connecting citizens to the world.”

BOARD MEETING

The funds were part of nearly $25 million announced at the Empire State Development Board of Directors meeting in New York City Thursday. Those funds are expected to leverage more that $116.5 million in additional investment designed to create 236 new jobs and retain 784 existing jobs in the state.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Chair Kenneth Adams said  the corporation is supporting a broad range of job-creating projects and initiatives that provide incentive for business growth while leveraging more than $100 million in additional investment that will strengthen the state’s economy.

Email Dan Heath dheath@pressrepublican.com