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Area leaders ask Sen. Gillibrand for help in boosting economic growth

During an area economic development roundtable discussion held April 16 at SUNY Adirondack, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (center) tells area political and business leaders how small businesses in the region can seek financing help from the federal Export-Import Bank to aid them expand their sales to foreign countries. Participating in the roundtable event were SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy (left) and EDC Warren County President Ed Bartholomew (right).

During an area economic development roundtable discussion held April 16 at SUNY Adirondack, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (center) tells area political and business leaders how small businesses in the region can seek financing help from the federal Export-Import Bank to aid them expand their sales to foreign countries. Participating in the roundtable event were SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy (left) and EDC Warren County President Ed Bartholomew (right). Photo by Thom Randall.

— Infrastructure development and small-business marketing in the southern Adirondack region were the primary topics as area business and community leaders shared their ideas on how to boost local prosperity with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a roundtable discussion held Wednesday April 16 at SUNY Adirondack.

Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty — who serves as chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors — said that expansion and upgrades of municipal infrastructure, including road repair and reconstruction, were a primary concern to municipalities regionally.

Queensbury Supervisor John Strough made a similar point, noting that expansion of water and sewer systems were vital to attracting industries and creating jobs.

“Our greatest need is to expand infrastructure to allow greater business, commercial and industrial growth,” Strough said.

Observing that a recent federal study concluded that Warren County needed $100 million in wastewater system upgrades, Gillibrand noted she’s co-sponsoring a bill that would expedite the movement of federal money to states to bankroll low-interest loans on municipal infrastructure construction.

Broadband access needed locally

Warren County EDC President Ed Bartholomew also noted the infrastructure needs of the region, noting not only aging water and wastewater systems, but the need for broadband access in Northern and central Warren County as well as Washington County.

Bartholomew also asked Gillibrand for her support in transferring the General Electric manufacturing plant property in Fort Edward, totalling 38 acres, to a third party soon after the company vacates it, so it can be redeveloped quicker. General Electric officials have announced their intent to shut down their Fort Edward manufacturing plant early next year, causing the loss of 200 local jobs.

Civic Center's future discussed

Both Bartholomew and Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce president Peter Aust asked Gillibrand for her help in bringing a new hockey team to Glens Falls. This is the Adirondack Phantoms’ last season as the primary tenant in the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Phantoms, an AHL team, are relocating to Allentown, Pa.

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