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Common Ground Alliance Forum to be held virtually

LAKE PLACID — The 14th annual Adirondack Common Ground Alliance Forum will take place on July 14 and 15, conducted in one-and-a-half to three-hour sessions via video conference each morning.

A one-hour closing session will also be hosted on Thursday, July 23 to report the Forum findings.

Registration is now open at commongroundadk.org, the new Common Ground Alliance website.

This year’s theme, “Attracting a New Generation of Residents to the Adirondacks,” comes as people all over the world are learning they can work from basically anywhere. That raises the question: Why not the Adirondacks?

Adirondack communities face a serious demographic challenge, specifically related to the attraction and retention of new, younger residents. This year’s forum will explore and work through the issue, with a special focus on community vitality.

“This year’s virtual forum is designed to replicate the energy and camaraderie that happens when we meet in person,” Cali Brooks, Adirondack Foundation president and CEO and CGA core team member, said in a press release. “With a shorter over all time commitment and easy digital access, we’re looking forward to engaging an even wider range of people from across the Adirondacks in discussions about reenergizing our communities.”

“In light of the immense issues our communities are facing in 2020, from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown to the racial justice movement happening throughout the world and in our own towns and villages, the CGA Forum holds particular significance this year,” said Adirondack North Country Association Executive Director Kate Fish. “The Forum has always provided an exceptional opportunity to hear voices from all over the Adirondacks in order to identify shared goals for policy and action. Now, more than ever, we need these collaborative discussions to help shape a future for the region that is more welcoming, inclusive and resilient.”

The event will feature live video sessions, presentations and interactive small group discussions designed to flesh out strategies for achieving regional population stability and encouraging future growth. These strategies are then distilled into a series of action items for state and local elected officials, policymakers, communities and participants.

The interactive program was designed with support from the Northern Forest Center, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit group that works to promote thriving rural communities, healthy forests and innovative, resilient local economies.

“This year’s Forum will focus on topics that the Northern Forest Center has successfully used throughout the region,” said Craig Leggett, supervisor for the town of Chester in Warren County. “The localized small groups will focus on three topic areas: Economic & Social Participation; Amenities & Activities; and Community Infrastructure. Put together, these three topics will produce a placed-based vision and checklist for creating and maintaining vibrant, resilient, livable Adirondack communities.”

“The Common Ground Alliance Forum gives us the opportunity to achieve stronger and more effective results for our communities by creating a space for us to set common goals, leverage our individual strengths, and collaborate on solutions to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the Adirondacks today.” said Peg Olsen, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter.

A general schedule is available at commongroundadk.org with further details, including information on presenters and moderators, to be added in early July.

The Common Ground Alliance was formed in 2007 to identify opportunities for collaboration among different — and at times competing — Adirondack stakeholders. This led to the development of the annual “Blueprint for the Blue Line,” a document that summarizes and builds upon the takeaways of each year’s forum. Past Blueprints are now available at commongroundadk.org.

Alliance members and past forum attendees include Adirondack homeowners, educators, business owners, community leaders, visitors, taxpayers and others who want to make the Adirondacks a better place to live, work and play. The Alliance promotes inclusiveness, mutual respect, transparency, candor and trust to guide open discussions and foster productive dialogue across a multitude of viewpoints.

The cost of registration is $20, or $10 for students. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To register, visit commongroundadk.org. For more information about registration or sponsorship, contact Doug Haney at 518-524-4674 or via email at doug@greatrange.org.

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