Even within the report mention is made of the area’s negative self perception and impression of depressed communities, lack of entrepreneurial spirit, sense of isolation and regional turf battles rather than cooperation on any level. Competing against the other regions, all more well defined, with a formal metropolitan center as its primary focal point, the North Country effort was uphill from day one. That may well have been its biggest advantage.
Accepting Governor Cuomo’s challenge to redesign the way the state administers its funding for growing the economy and creating jobs the North Country Regional Economic Development Council didn’t have a true starting point. There were no prior plans to dust off and put into play. The group was forced in many ways to start with a clean slate, assess its assets, be willing to accept its short comings and create a plan that not only encompassed its past but created a vision of the future rich in opportunity.
The lead paragraph in the executive summary frames the plan well…..”New York State’s economic renaissance depends as much on the vibrancy of its small cities and rural communities as it does on its large cities. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) is prepared to lead a rural renaissance, leveraging its own natural and human capital with State and private investment. The region is geographically the largest in New York with a relatively low population density, making it the perfect location for investments that will result in transformational returns. With the combination of a much-sought after quality of life, a rich and abundant natural resource base and entrepreneurial and talented people, the North Country is ripe for the kind of thoughtful and targeted investment that will secure its local economies for generations and help re-establish the Empire State’s role as a global leader.”
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.