MALONE — The North Country Regional Economic Development Council has expressed support for continued operation of two facilities slated for closure in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties.
At a recent meeting in Malone, the council passed resolutions asking that both St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg and Chateaugay Correctional Facility, both under review by the state, remain open.
Council members cited the long history of the Psychiatric Center and how its 500 employees provide high-quality care to North Country residents with mental-health needs and the severe economic consequences to families should the only facility of its kind in the region close.
Council Co-Chair Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, said its loss would have a very detrimental effect on the families of children with mental illnesses.
“The loss of adult and children/youth inpatient facilities at the center would have a far reaching impact on the residents of the North Country from Clinton County to Jefferson County,” he said in a statement.
“In addition to losing valuable jobs in the Ogdensburg area, it would place an undue burden on our North Country families who are trying to access a critical public service.
“We need to make sure the governor and his staff know the negative impact this will have on this and our efforts to improve this region.”
The council also noted the considerable work being undertaken to reduce the operating costs of Chateaugay Correctional facility through energy alternatives supported in the region, which includes connection to the Enbridge-St. Lawrence Gas pipeline, expected to take place next year.
HOT SPOTS SUBMISSION
Also at the session, the council received an update on the pending North Country submission in the state’s Innovation Hot Spots competition designed to promote the commercialization of academic research and foster innovation by offering start-up businesses low-cost and accessible incubator support systems.
“The governor’s Innovation Hot Spots program will accelerate the region’s transformation,” said Council Co-Chair Anthony Collins, president of Clarkson University.
“As part of this transformation, we need to build momentum with new investments and also support the critical services and jobs that provide opportunities to sustain families who want to call the North Country home.”
The council also agreed to transfer the administration of the Tourism Community Transformation Fund and the Digital Theater Conversion Fund from the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation to the Development Authority of the North Country.