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New York's Regional Economic Development Council regions. Map: NYS
New York's Regional Economic Development Council regions. Map: NYS

Development council names priority projects, seeks further funding

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Yesterday the North Country's Regional Economic Development Council released its new list of priorities for the next round of funding. It's part of a progress report that gives details on projects already underway, and explains new strategies the council plans to implement as it vies for more state money.

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

A value added farm product loan program. Employee training at Bombardier.  Two  hotels in Saranac Lake. These are just some of the 21 projects the Regional Economic Development Council earmarked as priorities.

This year, all ten economic development regions will compete against each other for funds. Five will be granted $25 million. And the remaining regions will get just $5 million. 

Tony Collins, co-chair of the Regional Economic Development Council, says this year the council tried to encourage private sector growth while working to keep state jobs in the region. 

"This council has endorsed efforts to retain the Saint Lawrence Psychiatric Center. And of course we’re looking at prison closures. So we’re really trying to drive the economy forward and at the same time we’re trying to retain state jobs that are somewhat in jeopardy." 

Two North Country prisons are currently slated for closure in 2014 — Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County and Chateaugay in Franklin County.

The council also hopes to win funding for an Innovation Hot Spot based at Clarkson University, creating a tax-free zone to encourage start-ups

Collins says state officials will visit the North Country for half a day in order to make their decision. 

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