Judging from the number of self-accolades being passed around, the news is big for Ticonderoga’s economic development front. A regional meat packing slaughterhouse is coming to town. I gather this may, already, be a “done deal” or close to; but it should never be too late to ask the right questions and draw the requisite lessons – especially, where the community’s ability to protect its revitalization investment priorities may have been placed at undue risk.
One has to start by asking — could this ever be a good thing for the cause of economic advancement, where poor are pitted against poor (this time, neatly contained in the greater Adirondack Park/ North Country community) — to win a contract that hardly anyone, rich or poor, would want as their first choice in the first place — if, only, one could afford to refuse it? (On the subject of affordability, think — Botswana prevailing over its equally poor neighbors for the privilege of storing nuclear wastes in precious country soil.)
Never mind a long term planning initiative completed twice by the town and twice adopted by the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance, calling for an environmentally sensitive and attractive place, suitable for destination tourism with an emphasis on outdoor recreational pursuits, indoor and outdoor pursuit of the arts, business incubation and entrepreneurial/ educational links, regional hub for various big and small box retailers. Never mind the incredible array of assets this little town of under 5000 has to offer in any potential self-makeover — i.e., a top rated, local college system, our incredible fort (“America’s Fort), an unparalleled location of historical, environmental, recreational and regional economic importance, a substantial prospective volunteer corps (as we have seen in connection with the early activities of the Alliance). Never mind a 40 percent vacancy/ under-utilization rate in its principle, downtown and four corners real estate, ready to lend itself to a broad, public/ private re-development initiative.