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Panel discusses economic future of Adirondacks

Panel members discuss the economic future of the Adirondack Park Oct. 5 at the Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid. From left are: John Sheehan, of the Adirondack Council; Jim Herman, of Keene; Betsy Folwell, of Adirondack Life magazine; Brian Mann, of North Country Public Radio; Kate Fish, of the Adirondack North Country Association; and Jim LaValley, of Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy (ARISE) in Tupper Lake.

Panel members discuss the economic future of the Adirondack Park Oct. 5 at the Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid. From left are: John Sheehan, of the Adirondack Council; Jim Herman, of Keene; Betsy Folwell, of Adirondack Life magazine; Brian Mann, of North Country Public Radio; Kate Fish, of the Adirondack North Country Association; and Jim LaValley, of Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy (ARISE) in Tupper Lake. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— “The article has generated so much conversation, blog postings, diner chat and bar talk,” said Folwell, whose magazine published the piece. “We thought that we should take this on the road.”

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Kate Fish

Fish started her remarks by asking the audience if there was any who felt that the Adirondack Park economy could not be transformed or improved, to which no one responded.

“I think that it is time for the gloom and doom attitudes that we find — just, let’s be done with that,” Fish said. “A negative attitude can really impede change. There are a lot of good things that are happening here, and we, as Adirondackers, do not let challenges get in our way.”

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Jim LaValley

LaValley said that he felt that there needed to be a balance between the protection of the environmental assets and the human assets.

“If I were a teacher, I would give us an A-plus in the ways that we have protected and developed the natural ecosystem of the park,” said LaValley, who also operates LaValley Real Estate offices in Tupper Lake, Potsdam and Malone. “I would give a failing grade in the protection and development of the human ecosystem in the park. So many are looking for new development.”

A “new development” is something that Herman said he is looking into by doing a study of the region.

“One idea that we see is a closed-loop economy,” Herman said. “That way, more of the money that is spent here in the park stays here.”

Herman and Fish both pointed at thermal bio-mass industry as a way to promote closed-loop economics and growth within the park.

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Jim Herman

“If you want young people to stay here, you have to put out ideas that will appeal to them,” Herman said, adding that he felt another way to help the region would be the creation of an Adirondack County.

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