APA: Help me help you


It’s not often the Adirondack Park Agency gets good press. Let this be one of those few times.

Media groups — including Denton — tend to use the APA as a convenient punching bag when property rights and economic development seem to take a back seat to environmental concerns. Rightfully so, we should be vigilant watchdogs of state government; however, we should also offer praise when it’s earned.

Therefore, what the APA did for Indian Lake recently should be noted.

In December 2012, APA Special Assistant for Economic Affairs Dan Kelleher released a marketing study to pinpoint which grocery chains are good candidates for Indian Lake (IGA and the Big M). The community has been without a grocery store for more than three years. This was the first such study Kelleher has compiled since joining the Agency in early 2012, and he’s hoping it won’t be his last.

Asked why the APA used its important resources toward this project, we weren’t surprised to hear the same rhetoric we’ve heard for decades, about making sure Adirondack communities are sustainable and great places to live. We’ve heard that answer over and over without much definition for the word “sustainable” when it comes to economic development.

Yet we were impressed by the APA’s approach to this project, and Kelleher did something during his Denton interview that government workers rarely choose to do; he explained something in plain English and with an honest answer:

“We’re not exactly an organization that can go out and recruit new companies to locate to places. But we can give communities the data that they need to go do that themselves.”

The APA is tiny compared to most state agencies with fewer than 60 staffers. So it doesn’t have many resources. In fact, Kelleher is the only person in the Economic Services Unit, and he received help on the Indian Lake marketing study from the two people in the Local Government Services Unit.

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