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We are already for the north country a resounding success going forward...we also want the money.

North Country Economic Council gets ready to submit its plan

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The North Country Regional Economic Development Council is sifting through project proposals this week. The projects it chooses will be entered into the state competition for the first round of economic development dollars.

Julie Grant reports that while the priority projects have not been revealed, the North Country plan is getting more specific.

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Julie Grant
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Aside from the so-called Rooftop Highway project, which would run from Watertown around to Plattsburgh, the North Country’s economic development plan didn’t identify specific projects. The draft released to the public last month, laid out eight "visions" for the north country.

Things like – quote - “Energize our micropolitan cities, building on growth in the aerospace, transit equipment, defense, biotech, agriculture and manufacturing industries.” 

The plan has been criticized for being too vague. 

New York Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy has attended meetings with all ten councils. He says this is no different in the North Country than the other nine regions.

"In each of the councils there are some clear specifics, and there are some generalities.  Can’t put yourself into a corner. What the north country has done is consistent with the other regions."  

Duffy says each council is focusing on the strengths of its region:

"You live in one of the most aesthetically beautiful areas of the state and the country. You already have a brand already for this state in terms of a selling point. What the council has done is identified the core strengths."

Garry Douglas is president of the North Country chamber of commerce in Plattsburgh, and is co-chair of the council.  He says the plan is getting more detailed. Just as important, Douglas says over the past three months the council has brought together players from all over the region – and created a plan he calls remarkably important. 

He says people who live in the region should ask themselves two questions about the plan…

"One is, did we create a quality plan for the first time for this region that suits this region, that matches the unique diversity of this region, and has strategies that will benefit all parts of this region?  And I suggest the answer is going to be a resounding yes."

Douglas sat next to Lieutenant Governor Duffy, as he explained the other reason he’s so impressed by the council’s work…

"The degree to which we have constructed an ongoing basis for an ongoing collaborative relationship at a level that did not exist before. And once again, we are a resounding success."

But, turning toward the Lieutenant Governor, he said “we also want the money.”  The Council’s plan is due to Albany this Friday.

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