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Young professionals called to action

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett implored attendees to get involved at the Adirondack Young Professionals sixth annual Economic Forum.

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett implored attendees to get involved at the Adirondack Young Professionals sixth annual Economic Forum. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

PLATTSBURGH—Attracting young people to the region and keeping them here was more than a talking point at the sixth annual Adirondack Young Professionals Economic Forum.

It was a call to action.

“It’s a work of everybody,” said Leigh Simonette, civic committee co-chair and member of the Adirondack Young Professionals board of directors. “It starts at the grassroots levels and goes all the way up to the politicians.”

A panel of six people who represent businesses and politics in the area were on hand to share their visions, and to respond to questions and comments from the young professionals in attendance.

“Way too often we focus on the here and now and not on a vision for our future,” said Dr. Colin Read, chair of the SUNY Plattsburgh Department of Finance and Economics and owner of the Champlain Wine Company.

Read shared his vision of a Plattsburgh invigorated by the ideas of the young, a place where outdoor activities abound and locally owned businesses thrive.

Fulfilling that vision includes making better use of the waterfront by relocating the sewage treatment plant, closing off the streets around Trinity Park on the weekend to use as vendor space, and the need to have a downtown association in Plattsburgh.

Nothing, he said, should stop these things from becoming reality.

“Don’t look at that sewage treatment plant as something that’s there, look at it as something you want gone,” Read said. “I think more young people are getting involved. You’ve got a voice. There is energy in this town.”

Terry Meron, owner of the Comfort Inn complex in Plattsburgh, added to the slew of forward-thinking ideas, and received applause when he mentioned that the 99-acre City Beach property could become a festival marketplace, complete with restaurants and shops.

He also said that the area’s history could be used to attract visitors.

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