PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Regional Economic Development Council will compete for $750 million during the next round of state funding.
At a public forum at Plattsburgh State this week, Council Co-chairs Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Anthony Collins, president of Clarkson University, share information about the process.
“Getting out there and encouraging public participation is one of the things we get scored on,” Douglas said.
He said it is important for people who want a project considered to show how it matches up with as many parts of the council’s Five-Year Strategic Plan as possible.
This year, the competitive process is also about performance. The judges want to see what each council is doing to implement the plan it created last year, Douglas said.
Collins said there is no rule in Albany that all of the funds be split equally among the regions. The North Country could receive the lion’s share of the funding, he said.
“They want projects that line up with each region’s plan,” he said.
This year, the four top plans from 2011, which included the North Country’s, will compete against each other. And the top two will each be named a Best Plan and receive a $25 million bonus on top of the other funds they receive.
The council is also seeking proposals for projects to be identified and recommended as priorities in the second round of funding. Those will be chosen based on thei
r ability to stimulate job creation, private-sector investment and transformational economic growth, in accordance with the goals identified by the council’s Five-Year Strategic Plan.
All priority projects must be submitted to the council by 4 p.m. Friday, July 27. Priority project applicants must complete the Consolidated Funding Application by 4 p.m. Monday, July 16.
Once the Consolidated Funding Application is submitted by the applicant, it goes to the local Regional Council to be reviewed and ranked as part of the strategic planning process.
Collins said people should provide information about a project even if they don’t plan to submit a Consolidated Funding Application this year. That way, they will at least be on the radar for future funding, he said.
During a public-comment period, Village of Champlain Mayor Gregory Martin spoke about the proposed C2RP Water/Sewer Development Project.
The Town of Champlain and villages of Champlain and Rouses Point propose to work together to improve the water and sewer service in all three municipalities.
Martin said it would expand the service area and reduce the cost of operation.
The committee working on that project agreed with its consulting engineer to move forward with the project at its meeting Monday night, Martin said.
Melissa McManus, Village of Rouses Point revitalization project manager, said those efforts continue. Additional funding would help with continued investment in tourism infrastructure, such as renovation of the D&H Railroad Station.
The village would also like to serve as a leader in waterfront development, she said, and help other communities in Clinton and Essex counties in that regard.
North Country Cultural Center for the Arts Board of Directors President Leigh Mundy noted the Strand Theatre was one of last year’s priority projects. It received a $397,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation that will allow the theater to possibly open as early as next summer.
She hopes the council will keep the Strand as a priority so it can acquire the equipment needed to run the theater.
Douglas said that while they are still working from last year’s plan, they will be adopting updates to it in September.
The North Country was named one of four Best Plans and received $103.2 million for 70 projects.
Additional information about the process and other resources are available at northcountryopenforbusiness.com. For application materials, click the link on the upper right side of the site that says “Consolidated Funding Application.”
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