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North Country economic development council files 21 priority projects

— In this year’s progress report, the North Country Regional Council points to the momentum gained in the last two years, and the unprecedented collaboration which this process has resulted across the seven-county region and industry sectors. In 2013, the NCREDC continued to revise its strategies and added three new working groups in response to the Governor’s charge:

An Opportunity Agenda work group to develop a plan, strategies and actions to overcome challenges that prevent under privileged families and individuals from participating in New York’s economic revitalization.

An Innovation Hot Spots work group led by Clarkson University to compete for one of five Hot Spots across the State to advance transfer of technology from the Region’s academic community to commercialization.

An Infrastructure work group to advance the development of infrastructure that is so critical to the Region’s economic success and to work with the Governor’s New York Works task force.

Notably, several of the Council’s existing work groups have made significant progress over the last year. For example, the Tourism Committee finalized the deployment of the Tourism Transformation Fund and launched a process for identifying and designating Tourism Destination Areas (TDA), a process that has potential for statewide replication. In addition, the Higher Education and Research Development (HEARD) consortium, a collection of eleven colleges, universities and research institutions across the seven counties, has spent much of the year advancing their work on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) practices in the region and will focus efforts in 2014 on developing a region specific strategy for the Governor’s Next Generation Job Linkage Program.

Other areas of progress include the Defense - Fort Drum working group, which has advanced significantly on the Fort Drum housing strategies and assessed ways to ensure that encroachment of developed lands does not interfere with the Fort’s mission. The Agriculture work group has focused on the opening of several new USDA certified meat processing facilities in the region and new investments in the region’s local foods economy.

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