Press-Republican

December 13, 2013

Region chosen as Innovation Hot Spot winner

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Regional Economic Development Council was one of five chosen in the state’s Innovation Hot Spot competition.

The $250,000 award will be administered through Clarkson University and its Shipley Center for Innovation and Peyton Hall Incubator.

The goal is to connect businesses and educational institutions to bring new technologies to the market and create jobs.

The plan calls for a hub-and-spoke system that will reach out to colleges and institutions throughout the seven-county region, including SUNY Plattsburgh, Clinton Community College, North Country Community College, Trudeau Institute and the North Country Chamber of Commerce, with the latter facilitating connections in Quebec.

SUPPORT FOR STARTUPS

Council Co-Chair Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, said the announcement proves the region has shown the state it is worthy of support and investment. 

“We not only earned Top Performer status for the third year in a row and more than $81 million, on top of $49 million announced two weeks ago, we have also won one of the five Innovation Hot Spots, another commitment by the state which we expect to nurture and grow in the years ahead as a support system for the incubation of innovative startups,” he said by email.

“We put forward a concept for a network as opposed to a single location, engaging Clarkson and its remarkable assets in support of business development across the North Country.

“They (the state) liked our approach, and we now have another new economic tool in the region.” 

PERU TRAIL

Thursday, North Country residents continued to savor North Country Regional Economic Development Council funding awards announced Wednesday.

The council received 79 awards that total $81.3 million, ranking as one of five Top Performers in the third round of awards. 

The Town of Peru received two awards that total $258,000 to go toward construction of a 1.5-mile paved trail for non-motorized use.

The trail will run between the Heyworth/Mason Park and Sullivan Sports Park.

Peru Town Supervisor Peter Glushko said it’s a welcome addition to the other funding secured for the project.

He said the town had an excellent team of grant writers who have worked on the project.

“It’s kind of like an early Christmas present,” Glushko said.

Town officials hope to put out a request for bids in January. They would like to have the trail completed by the end of next summer.

Peru also received $30,000 to study expansion of its sewer system.

SCHROON LAKE INN

The Inn on Schroon Lake project received two awards that total $764,000.

Property owner Julia Pitkin-Shantz said she intends to renovate the former Wood’s Lodge property, a Victorian-style building that was built in 1883 but has been vacant since 2006.

“I am incredibly grateful,” she said of the funding. 

The property features 600 feet of lakefront and is only two blocks from Main Street and adjacent to the public beach.

In addition to suites in the lodge, plans call for a new inn with 30 rooms and a lakeside restaurant. 

The state funds will be used for planning, architectural drawings and construction of a foundation to be completed in 2014, which will allow for further construction next winter.

Pitkin-Shantz said that in its heyday, Schroon Lake had numerous options for high-quality lodging; now the main choices are a few smaller bed-and-breakfast properties.

“Schroon Lake needs it so badly,” she said of additional lodging.

The entire process has been very educational and rewarding, Pitkin-Shantz said. 

She said the Regional Economic Development Council is doing a great job for the region.

“It feels like we are one region pulling together,” she said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com