Press-Republican

Thursday

October 11, 2012

North Country progress, priorities discussed

PLATTSBURGH — The state is getting returns on its investment in the North Country Regional Economic Development Council projects.

That was noted during the council’s report to the state’s Strategic Implementation Assessment Team on its progress on 2012 projects — and its objectives for 2013 funding —  at the West Side Ballroom on Wednesday afternoon. The council received $103.2 million in the first round of competitive awards, the second-highest amount among the 10 councils around the state.

Council Co-chair and North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the new approach has created unprecedented unity across the council’s seven-county region.

“What we can now do ... is the remarkable things that partnership makes possible,” he said. “We are now punching over our weight.”

Assessment Team member Matthew Driscoll, president and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, asked what the ratio is of private to public funds in the projects. Douglas said every dollar the state has provided has led to $22 in additional investment.

Bombardier Transportation is a prime example of that, he said. The show of state and community support in providing $2.5 million led that company to invest $25 million in the expansion of its Plattsburgh plant, which will increase in size by about 40 percent. 

The planned expansion was one of the keys to landing large contracts with the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Bay Area Rapid Transit earlier this year, as it showed Bombardier would have the capacity to meet the production timeline.  

BIOMASS FACILITY

Clarkson University President and Council Co-chair Dr. Anthony Collins said he could see the relief in the faces of the people of Jefferson County when they saw region-wide support for Fort Drum, the state’s largest employer and provider of an $1.8 billion economic impact. Among the next round of priority projects in support of the base are 100 units proposed for Creekwood Housing Phase II and the 364 unit Carthage Apartments project, both in Jefferson County.

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