Bridge assistance center opens

PORT HENRY - The Albany regional Small Business Development Center has opened the Champlain Bridge Business Assistance Center in Port Henry.

The center, located at 3259 Broad St., will assist small businesses that have been adversely affected by the closing and demolition of the Champlain Bridge.

The bridge was demolished in December. Construction of a new bridge is expected to be complete in late summer 2011.

The Champlain Bridge Business Assistance Center will help interested business owners plan how to transition and maintain the viability of their businesses during construction of the new bridge. The SBDC, along with strategic partners, will offer assistance to dislocated workers who cannot afford the long commute around Lake Champlain to jobs in Vermont and may be interested in starting a business.

The Albany SBDC is collaborating with the North Country SBDC, located at SUNY Plattsburgh, to provide staff for the counseling and outreach efforts.

"The Champlain Bridge Business Assistance Center will be yet another invaluable resource to the North Country businesses deeply affected by the bridge closure," Gov. David A. Paterson said. "In addition to helping current or potential business owners plan for the future, SBDC will also help businesses apply for aid through the Champlain Bridge Economic Assistance Program. We will continue to work hand in hand with our local partners in the North Country to ensure businesses are getting the assistance they need in order to move toward sustainable economic recovery in this corridor."

Services offered will include assessment of impact, identification of state Champlain Bridge Relief Programs, application assistance for these programs, market research, cost analysis/financial management, identifying sources of capital and business growth strategies.

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