State hands out economic development awards Thursday

The state will hand out millions of dollars in economic development funds Thursday, and the North Country has a lot on the line.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce the annual Regional Economic Development Council awards, along with the winners of the new Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The bigger prize is the URI, which involves seven regions of the state, all upstate, in a competition for $1.5 billion. The three winning regions will each get $500 million, doled out in $100 million increments over five years.

Under the REDC awards, which are in their fifth year, all 10 state regions are vying for up to $750 million in grants and tax incentives for economic development projects. This year the state will give each of three regions judged as “Top Performers” a $45 million package: $30 million in grants and $15 million in tax credits toward their listed projects. The other regions will each receive $15 million in grants and $15 million in tax credits.

The North Country was named a “top performer” in the first three years of these awards. Tony Collins, co-chairman of the North Country REDC, said the region has assembled what he thinks is another winning plan.

“I sleep well at night because I know we left no stone unturned in putting a massive effort together,” he said in a recent interview. “I believe we’ve put our best foot forward. The rest is up to the judges.

“We’ve been successful three out of four times, and I believe this has been our collective best effort so far. It would be a wonderful boost for the region that sorely needs as much infusion of economic development as we can get.”

The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at The Egg theater at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

Here’s a list of some of the projects North Country leaders are seeking funding for in both categories. Note that some projects are listed under both the REDC and URI awards, since the upstate regions that win URI money won’t get as much in REDC funding.

North Country REDC priority projects:

North Country Community Tourism Revolving Fund, $7 million to provide low-interest loans for tourism-related development projects

Adirondack/Thousand Island Sports and Events Commission, $4.5 million to modernize Lake Placid’s Olympic venues

North Country Redevelopment Fund, $4 million to provide loan and grant funding for development projects throughout the region

Adirondack Health, $3 million to build a new Medical Fitness Center in Lake Placid

Village of Tupper Lake, $2.9 million to build a wood-pellet-fired heating system for village residents, and $1.5 million to improve its water system to support the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort

Speculator Development LLC, $2.5 million to develop an 80-room hotel on Lake Pleasant

Schroon Lake Revitalization Group LLC, $2.2 million to build a new 78-room hotel in the Schroon Lake business district

Adirondack North Country Association, $1.1 million to launch an Energy Services Corporation to fund renewable energy projects

Village of Tupper Lake and AuSable River Association, $920,000 to implement reconstruction projects in Keene and Jay, and streetscape and downtown enhancement projects in Tupper Lake

Adirondack Community-Based Trails and Lodging System, $560,000 to create a hut-to-hut system linking communities in the Adirondack Park

North Country URI

year-one projects:

Development Authority of the North Country, $12 million to supplement an existing tourism loan fund, and $6 million to create a community center grant-loan fund for downtown commercial projects across the region

Trudeau Institute and Clarkson University, $5.7 million to recruit scientists and create the Center for Immunoengineering and Infectious Diseases

North Country Redevelopment Fund, $5 million to provide loan and grant funding for development projects throughout the region

Adirondack/Thousand Islands Sports and Events Commission, $4.5 million to hire consultants to create the Sustainable Olympic Venues Global Center of Sports Excellence in Lake Placid and craft a possible Winter Olympic Games bid

Speculator Development LLC, $2.5 million to develop an 80-room hotel on Lake Pleasant

Adirondack Health, $2.2 million to build a Medical Fitness Center in Lake Placid

Schroon Lake Revitalization Group LLC, $2.2 million to build a new 78-room hotel in the Schroon Lake business district

Olympic Regional Development Authority, $1.75 million to assess the existing Olympic venues and critical repairs needed to modernize them

Village of Tupper Lake, $1.5 million to improve its water system to support the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort

Adirondack Community-Based Trails and Lodging System, $560,000 to create a hut-to-hut system linking communities in the Adirondack Park

Citizen Advocates of Malone, $300,000 to help create an indoor growing operation in the former Valco Furniture building

Point Positive of Saranac Lake, $100,000 to help spur new investment in for-profit ventures and projects

AuSable Brewing Company, Keeseville, $60,940, to help build a larger brewing facility