By Garry Douglas
Understanding, cultivating and delivering the Power of Region has been at the core of our Chamber since the mid-nineties, beginning with the creation of a Regional Chamber of Commerce that would have the numbers and capacity to deliver real services and have a real impact on the North Country’s behalf. Today we actively serve Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton and northern Warren Counties, and Akwesasne, with a strategic reach into St. Lawrence to engage several major partner institutions. Foundational to this dynamic has been our innovative network of official Partner Relationships with 12 community chambers under which we provide a number of small business services and have them as our eyes and ears on the regional landscape in connection with needs and issues.
This network officially includes the Malone, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Ticonderoga, Schroon Lake, North Warren, Stony Creek, Speculator, Indian Lake and Inlet chambers, ROOST, the Whiteface Visitors Bureau, and a special commitment to serve the businesses of Akwesasne.
The period of the pandemic really showed the importance of such regionalism. At any given time, we are actively engaged in one or more projects or issues touching various parts of this large service area.
Recently this has included:
- Active support for housing projects in Malone, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake
- Support for hotel ventures in Lake Placid and Tupper Lake
- Initiatives involving Trudeau Institute and Paul Smith’s College
- A cell service project in Hamilton County
- Helping to secure restoration funding for Fort Ticonderoga
- Acting as a lead stakeholder representative in the design process for new U.S. border facilities at Trout River and Rouses Point
- Arranging a connection related to possible use of mine tailings at four Adirondack locations
- Several forms of support for the successful FISU games, as well as other issues and projects across the five counties.
Our commitment to North Country regionalism and the Chamber’s role in encouraging such regional thinking and linkage has been, in my view, our Chamber’s most enduring legacy over the past quarter century. It has transformed our possibilities in a wide range of interactions and continues to do so every day.