Gov. Andrew Cuomo boards a bus in Plattsburgh, but he's not here to leaf peep. He's continuing his statewide Regional Economic Development Council Progress Tour to see firsthand how the competition has impacted the North Country. Last year, it took second place out of the 10 regions, grabbing $103 million to spend on 70 projects to create jobs and revitalize communities.
"These are investment opportunities," said Cuomo, D-New York. "We are rigorous to make sure the taxpayers are getting their money's worth."
First stop-- the Strand Theater which received close to $400,000 to nearly complete its $4 million fundraising goal.
"A lot of times you wouldn't think about this as an economic development project, but if you are thinking about really restoring the overall community and revitalizing the community," Cuomo explained.
The Strand is scheduled to reopen this spring for the first time in nearly a decade.
"Maybe I'll perform," Cuomo said. "I sing and dance, that's my day job."
The governor also visited the Bombardier rail car plant in Plattsburgh, which is in the midst of a $25 million expansion project-- $2.5 million of that is being funded through the competition. Company officials say without the expansion, they could not stay competitive or guarantee continued employment for the plant's 400 workers. Now, they are looking to add another 100 jobs in the near future.
"We are looking to expand to doing business with other cities; from Los Angeles, Miami, Boston to Seattle," said Bob Furniss of Bombardier Transportation. "This will be our base to build and assemble these vehicles. We need to be competitive, we need the space, we need the quality workforce."
This year, the council has 21 priority projects, including a new slaughterhouse in Ticonderoga. Also on the list-- a natural gas pipeline from Vermont to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga.
"It would save employment," said Donna Wadsworth of International Paper.
Right now, the plant relies on fuel oil for energy. But with soaring fuel prices, IP says it has become very difficult to remain competitive. So they are working with Vermont Gas to extend a pipeline underneath the lake to ensure the plant stays open.
"There are about 600 employees at the plant and an additional 600-700 independent truckers and loggers all throughout the Adirondacks and Green Mountains who earn their living by bringing timber to the mill," Wadsworth said.
A region seeing investments paying off and hoping they continue to revitalize the North Country.
The winners for this year's prizes will likely be announced in November.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>