July 8, 2014

Editorial: Fort Ti's huge economic impact

Fort Ticonderoga had a major impact on our nation’s history; now also have firm proof of its major impact on this region’s economy.

Fort administrators recently called local leaders in for a big announcement: A study showed the stone fortress has a $9 million economic impact on the region.

Despite its influence on the area — 66,000 annual visitors who spend $5 million while here — there had been no previous economic studies of the fort since its restoration began in 1909.

The survey by the Magellan Strategy Group of Asheville, N.C., assessed jobs, taxes, tourist spending, lodging and other factors and came up with $8.9 million in annual economic impact.

That’s great news, and it will certainly help the fort with marketing, grant-writing and fund-raising.

But it wasn’t the huge announcement people had been waiting for: a hotel at the fort, either through new construction or rebuilding of the Pell Pavilion summer house on the grounds.

Fort Chief Executive Officer Beth Hill has been tight-lipped about when or if that announcement will be made, but she did say to expect something big from the fort later this year.

We can only hope. Visitors to the fort who could stay right there would be a great boon to the site and the town.

Fort Ti is a huge resource to the region, and what it does directly affects the local economy, we now know.

Preserved by the Pell family of Ticonderoga since 1820, the fort is now operated by a non-profit association and managed by Hill and a Board of Trustees. It was built in 1755 as the French fort Carillon, later falling into British, then American control.

Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys took it from the British for America’s first victory in the American Revolution on May 10, 1775.

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