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6 Resolutions to Resolve in 2014
January 13, 2014 - Ernest Hohmeyer
We could be in a very different place this time next year.
2014 could be a watershed year for our local economy.
2014 would be a good year to resolve a few outstanding issues facing the Adirondack economy and our region.
I am not going to pontificate here on how they should be resolved, in many cases that’s up to the local communities and other involved parties to figure out.
The point is that some of these will have progressed far enough along that a decision needs to be made on way or another in 2014. In others there should be sufficient enough information to at least determine a process on how to produce a concrete decision.
Here are 6 economic issues we should resolve in 2014 or at least pick a path on how to move forward:
By this time next year, is it possible to resolve several regional business and community projects that are sustainable for both the community and the sponsors? These range from hotel and resort projects in the region as well as other plans on the board.
There are several important land areas that have the potential to be developed not just the business park near the Adirondack Regional Airport. Tupper Lake has one and there are several other opportunities in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake for business development.
There are new efforts underway between the Saranac Lake Area Chamber and the Town of Harrieststown among others to look at the Lake Clear Business Park. There may be a tendency to wrinkle the nose to say “We’ve been here before” but something needs to be done.
The good news is that planning and infrastructure are largely in place, not only for the Lake Clear site but these others as well. Marketing has been a key problem as well as positioning these areas to be “developer ready.”
Is it time to consider a more regional approach to these assets that combines the resources of other marketing partners such as our towns, the counties, Empire State Development, the Colleges and others?
This may not succeed though if there is not a strong business and industry representation for the types of businesses we are trying to recruit.
Marketing does not always have to be expensive or mysterious.
Basic collateral material, a simple link to other promotional web sites, a “stat sheet,” an “economic profile” of the region may not take a lot.
Bigger issues may abound however.
For example, “who talks to any interested parties?” What is the system of follow-up and hand-holding?
Further, should the towns or villages be the lead developer and marketing agent?
Should a set of short-term objectives be established that does not require much investment while some of these longer-term issues are addressed? Private ownership, a regional marketing collaborative among all of these business sites may be a few larger, strategic issues.
Regional Assets Supported Locally
There are important REGIONAL assets that our local governments are a major player in. This could include the Olympic venues, the Adirondack Regional Airport, North Country Community College; the business parks and others.
Does it make sense to consider a regional commission to address “regional assets?” Certainly, the model of the state’s regional groups seems to be working.
Currently, these discussions take place on an asset-by-asset basis. Perhaps, they should remain that way. But are there instances by working together, broader ideas or solutions may be found? Would at a minimum, applications for state and federal funding be helped?
The Governor is making municipal consolidation a priority. Do we need to resolve in 2014 that at least in some cases regional approaches are needed?
For example, The Town of Harrietstown has made so many efforts to bring in partners by trying to explain the importance of the airport.
At the end of the day though, do are other cash strapped towns who in many cases have their own “regional assets (North Elba with the Olympic venues for example) know that the Town will pick up the tab and vice-versa?
Through some type of regional network could we better leverage private investment or come up with an overall taxpayer “investment plan” that also has a cap?
Is it time to consider (or re-consider) in some cases other approaches? If an innovative, ground-breaking cooperative were formed among these diverse players would they be eligible for significant assistance?
The Rail Corridor
There has been much said about this already.
Suffice it to say that a decision needs to be made on the future of the corridor – or at least the process on how it will be decided.
One thing I have been contemplating is does the importance of the corridor extend beyond the right-of-way to a broader potential as a strategic gateway to other parts of the Park? Should part of the discussion be about linkages to nearby communities, infrastructure and amenities?
Wouldn’t it be cool to get beyond this point and work together on finalizing a “destination map” that identifies “hot zones,” primary and secondary areas for amenity development, recreation and conservation “hubs”? Much of this ground work has been done already by a host of groups.
Is it time to consider a dedicated Adirondack Park effort for marketing, economic and community development - a consortium of local, private and public entities? Could this extend to a “working cabinet” of state organizations from transportation to conservation?
Would this be a de facto place to go to bring all the parties together to work on regional issues for this special place we call a “Park”?
Prosperity & Health
The most important resolution: wishing you prosperity, health and happiness and perhaps a dose of will to occasionally think outside of the box.
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