Express News Staff
ALBANY -- The North Country Regional Economic Development Council has done it again.
For the third year in a row -- ever since Governor Andrew Cuomo created his Regional Economic Development initiative -- the volunteer group has been named a “Top Performer.” It came in fourth among the 10 regions across the state in terms of funding awarded.
Cuomo announced Wednesday, Dec. 11, that $750 million has been awarded through Round Three of the Regional Economic Development initiative to help fund 824 projects throughout the state.
The North Country REDC raked in $81.3 million in funding. Hamilton County was on the winning team with awards totaling $1,727,100 and having a share in $53,407,253 allocated for North Country regional projects.
The Adirondack Museum, Blue Mt. Lake, will get $1.4 million for renovations and upgrades to both the museum and its exhibits, including new hands-on, interactive experiences designed to engage contemporary audiences, particularly families.
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber says this award has the most importance to the county. “The funding is for a major, multi-million dollar exhibit renovation project,” he said.
The Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce was awarded $100,000 for Adirondack Teleworks, which will hire staff, fund a training component, expand outreach and identify new employers for telecommuting work throughout the county and the Adirondacks in general.
Dedicated Residents to Area Grooming (DRAG), Speculator, will get $80,000 to purchase a reconditioned Class A snow grooming machine and drag and replace a set of tracks on one of the club’s existing grooming machines.
The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, Blue Mountain Lake, was awarded $74,000 for its Adirondack Summer Playhouse, a touring theatre festival, to expand its reach into Central New York. This will create two full-time positions, offer work force training to area students and boost tourism to the region.
Pleasant Rider Snowmobilers Inc., Lake Pleasant, was awarded $56,600 to purchase a new Class II groomer.
Indian Lake Theater, Indian Lake, will get $17,100 toward its Digital Conversion Project. The project involves training, professional development, equipment and support for a new position.
The theater now employs six local residents. This project will hire another person full-time, year-round, with a salary of $29,000.
The regional Excelsior Jobs Credits program was awarded $9,794,580 in tax credits to be reserved for future projects including business investments in targeted industries within the region that create or retain jobs and create capital investment.
An additional $6 million will go to the North Country Broadband Grant Fund to expand broadband infrastructure in the region and to continue the progress made through the Connect NY program.
Bioenergy Project Partners LLC, in partnership with Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties, was awarded $1,394,173 for the Wood Pellet Heating Initiative. This project will provide funds to install high-efficiency wood pellet boilers at five institutional buildings in the three counties, including Indian Lake Central School. The projects will be implemented using a "heat sale" financing model that will help overcome the initial capital investment required and lack of in-house technical staff to manage such a project.
The Development Authority of the North Country was awarded $1 million for its Value-Added Agriculture program created in 2011. The money will fund a revolving loan fund for agribusiness in the North Country.
The Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages was awarded $82,500 for Phase II of its Adirondack Park Recreation Web Portal Project.
Phase I is currently underway. It involves creating a comprehensive web portal, database and app for tourism and recreation-related amenities and activities within the Adirondack Park. Phase II will enhance the user experience and employ a strategic marketing campaign.
The Central Adirondack Partnership for the 21st Century (CAP-21), which writes grant applications and promotes a variety of activities in Hamilton and Herkimer counties, was awarded $59,000 for the purchase of trail grooming maintenance equipment to be used by the Inlet Barnstormers Snowmobile Club. The club maintains 40 miles of trails and has assumed primary trail maintenance responsibilities for the new 13-mile 7th Lake Mountain Trail in the Moose River Plains.
Also, $35 million in low-cost economic development financing will be made available for state and local governments to sell tax-exempt bonds for eligible economic development, infrastructure and community revitalization efforts.