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Opportunity is knocking

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

I recently attended two very informative meetings, that could provide a peek into the future of the Park’s economy. The first meeting was that of the Regional Economic Council, one of 10 councils put in place by Gov. Cuomo, covering seven north counties in New York. The second meeting was held last week, convened by New York Sen. Betty Little to open a dialog between agricultural concerns and the Adirondack Park Agency.

The Regional Economic Council in working toward a Nov. 4 deadline to present their comprehensive plan for the region is holding public sessions for local input and provide further explanation of their intended purpose. At the Elizabethtown meeting, several local folks pointed out issues and concerns most of which were already on the council’s radar. One speaker, Ken Tucker, brought forth a concept that bears further consideration. After leaving the Adirondacks for employment in Oregon, Tucker has returned with an idea worth pursuit.

During his time in Oregon, Tucker witnessed the recent growth of Craft Brewing in Oregon. Today a 2.4 billion dollar industry employing nearly 5,000 Oregonians, micro-brewing has found its place in America’s love for beer. Sighting our nine trillion gallons of “pure blue gold” natural water resources, ecology friendly industry that would fit nicely inside the 9,300 square miles park, seventh lowest state excise tax on brewing and adding to the regions already strong tourist attractions, the Craft-Brewing Industry certainly deserves further pursuit.

Tucker hopes to pursue investor commitments to fund developing Adirondack jobs in the craft brewing segments of nano-brewers, brew pubs, restaurant breweries, micro-brewers, regional brewers and local farmers as well as attracting domestic and international brewers to the region. His goal would be to see the industry well rooted by the year 2025 and to replicate the movement in Oregon.

The other idea that holds great potential for our region was the center of discussion at a forum on agriculture. Spurred on by outspoken local farmer Sandy Lewis was the need for, not only a state-of-the-art local slaughter house, but an educational resource to be used as a model for organic raised meat products and processing. Lewis’ Essex Farm was recently certified an organic grass-fed farm — the only such certification ever awarded by the USDA.

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He can be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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