Task force looks to boost Adirondack economy

A grassroots group that formed at the request of state Senator Betty Little has issued a series of recommendations that target economic growth in the Adirondack Park.

The task force convened last year after the birth of the Adirondack Caucus - a collection of state lawmakers representing communities either wholly or partially within the Blue Line.

Jim LaValley is a member of the Blue Line Strategy Task Force and a realtor from Tupper Lake. He's also chairman of ARISE - Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy.

He says the task force was charged with reviewing and understanding the economic challenges faced by in-park communities and consists of a diverse group of individuals representing both environmental and economic interests.

"The final report that was issued a couple weeks ago to our state legislators contained some clear recommendations that we hope they will look at seriously and see to it that they get implemented," LaValley said.

Those recommendations, he adds, include consolidating state services within the park, as well as the establishment of an Adirondack Fund which would support environmental initiatives and help modernize communities.

Additionally, LaValley says the task force is looking to update the role of the state Adirondack Park Agency's economic affairs assistant, the goal being to promote a new focus on community revitalization efforts.

The task force also calls for Adirondack-specific programs relating to job creation and small business investment.

LaValley says the Blue Line Strategy Task Force wants to promote the notion that the economy and the environment can co-exist.

"The issue is you always have groups on either extreme that go too far in one direction," he said. "The Blue Line group has acknowledged that we've done real well with 30 years of environmental regulation. But we've done a terrible job with economic stability and improvement in our area. We need to recognize, though, that one does not have to be exclusive of the other."

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