Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens announced that two North Country entities will receive funding through the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). The Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena will receive $123,500 to construct a rail spur on the existing CSX St. Lawrence Subdivision, while The Wild Center will receive $158,120 to help implement its Northern New York Maple project. Both grants are intended to promote economic development in the region.
"The NBRC funding is a sweet success for the Northern New York Maple project and Massena's new industrial park, as well as the local economy and jobs in the North Country," said Senator Schumer. "The Wild Center, with partners at Paul Smiths College and Cornell, stands ready and able to unleash the untapped potential of our maple syrup industry, and this investment would help them do just that. In Massena, the CSX St. Lawrence Subdivision extension will become a model for clean and efficient industrial parks while laying the foundation to sustain and create infrastructure and energy production jobs. I applaud the NBRC for choosing these projects to harness local potential and grow the economy."
"This is an important investment for the North Country," said Senator Gillibrand, who wrote to the Northern Border Regional Commission advocating for both projects. "This federal funding will help boost local economic development efforts. In Massena, this support will help build the rail infrastructure needed to help a local company expand while attracting new businesses into the industrial park. At the Wild Center, this investment will support the Maple Project which trains local producers to help them expand and market their products and increase local tourism. These initiatives will help create and sustain good paying jobs in the North Country."
"This is a perfect example of putting the unique assets and characteristics of the region to good use for job creation and economic development," said Owens. "I congratulate everyone at the Business Development Corporation and The Wild Center on these awards, and on the work they are doing to promote better infrastructure, train local producers and increase tourism in support of local business." Congressman Owens has consistently fought to fund and reauthorize the Northern Border Regional Commission in support of grants like these.
"We would like to thank Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, as well as Congressman Owens, for their hard work in assisting us with this grant request," said Dan Pease on behalf of the Business Development Corporation of Greater Massena. "These monies will allow us to provide needed rail service to clients in our industrial park, significantly expanding access to markets for their products. This represents a substantial improvement in infrastructure, a critical component of our efforts to promote economic development in our area. This success would not have been possible without the strong support of our elected leaders."
"The Wild Center is thrilled to have received support from The Northern Border Regional Commission for the Northern New York Maple Project, and looks forward to working with its wonderful partners, the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program, and the Paul Smith's College Visitors Interpretive Center," said Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director for The Wild Center. "This project really builds on the region's natural assets. It promotes sustainable economic development through a region-wide encouragement of micro enterprises. Tourists want authentic experiences when they visit the northern forest area. The maple industry here has a rich and long tradition that this project will help highlight. This is truly sweet news!"
Funding for the Business Development Corporation will be matched by State and local funds, for a total project cost of $548,500. The new CSX rail spur will serve an industrial park in support of the local forest products industry. NBRC estimates this will create seven jobs and retain 119.
Funding for The Wild Center will be matched for a total project cost of $258,656. The money will be used to implement the Northern New York Maple project, in collaboration with the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension program. The Wild Center has partnered with Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretative Center on the project, which will help train local maple producer, create maple sugaring demonstration sites and promote further growth in the industry. NBRC estimates the project will create 40 jobs in the region.
The NBRC was created by Congress to spur economic development in a 36 county region throughout New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. In New York, this region includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Cayuga, and Seneca counties.