On October 5th, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council submitted its proposal under Governor Cuomo’s “Upstate Revitalization Initiative”, a one-time competition among seven upstate regions for up to $500 million of economic development investment over the next ve years. The outcome of this and other elements of the 2015 regional economic development competition process will be known any day now.
In the North Country, we embraced this as an opportunity to build upon our successes and assets to establish a fresh and focused vision, with strong strategies and projects related to three key themes:
• Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation
• Agriculture and Clean Energy
• Tourism and Community Centers
We entitled this new vision and plan: “IGNITE”.
Following is the introduction which sets a clear tone:
IGNITE! “WELCOME WORLD. WE’RE READY!”
With these words, the Rev. Bernard Fell, president of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee, welcomed the world to the North Country for the 1980 Winter Olympics, igniting the Olympic ame in our region for the second time.
They are simple words, yet they convey the determination and spirit of a region of New York that has long been ready and willing to dare great things. As a familiar refrain, these simple words echo across the region once again as we contemplate what achievements may lie ahead for the North Country, “What if?” A question asked not in backward- looking doubt, but in forward thinking wonder.
WHAT IF we could capitalize on our Olympic heritage
to reinforce our special role as New York’s center for international sports competitions of all kinds? And what if this is the way forward to welcome the Olympics to New York once again?
WHAT IF we could make the North Country the world’s next center for innovative aerospace, transforming the regional economy while establishing New York at the forefront of the transformation of global aircraft maintenance?
WHAT IF we could capitalize on existing educational and business resources to make the North Country a global capital of bioengineering?
WHAT IF we could harness our unique assets of water, forests and agriculture to become New York’s top center for innovation in connecting renewable energy to year-round food production?
WHAT IF we could build upon our unique approach to bi- national economics to make the North Country a center for international collaboration, from sports to tourism to energy to logistics?
More than any other region of New York outside of New York City, the North Country has long welcomed the world and engaged internationally in ways that are seldom expected
of a largely rural area. The men and women of Fort Drum who are defending freedom around the world are a prime example. In the process, we have come to understand that we have a special place in the world, and that understanding informs all facets of our thinking as we consider the future.
We do, indeed, welcome the world, and we embrace our role within it as players rather than as bystanders, proactively shaping and being shaped by global activity and commerce.
We have demonstrated our commitment to performance and results, earning the highest recognition for three successive years of the REDC process. From the beginning we have chosen well in identifying our key sectors of opportunity. And through the power of our unprecedented regional collaboration, our commitment to our strategies and our determined delivery of not only foundation-building projects but also documented results, we have positioned ourselves to say with con dence, “We are ready!”
We are fully ready to answer each of the “What if?” questions we have posed with the words of President Franklin Roosevelt when he dedicated the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway, “It can be done!”
Indeed, we are ready to do no less than IGNITE AN ECONOMIC REVOLUTION, building upon our determined and diligent preparations, and our innate and unique character to positively transform all parts of the North Country for generations to come.
The spirit of Olympic competition… The spirit of innovation…
The spirit of enterprise…
The spirit of the North Country!