Higher ed, tourism important drivers for St. Lawrence Co.

Daniel N. Valyou, facility manager for a blade test facility at Clarkson University, talks about how wind turbine blades are stress tested at Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing  in August. Jason Hunter/ NNY Business

Daniel N. Valyou, facility manager for a blade test facility at Clarkson University, talks about how wind turbine blades are stress tested at Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing
in August. Jason Hunter/ NNY Business

With five colleges and universities and more than 200 rivers and streams, growth in St. Lawrence County is in some ways about finding a way to market these assets.

Patrick J. Kelly, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency CEO, said installing adequate broadband infrastructure is a key to economic development. Slic Network Solutions Inc. secured $33 million in federal stimulus money in 2010 to install 660 miles of fiber-optic cable in St. Lawrence County and 136 miles in Franklin County. In August, DANC received $250,000 from Empire State Development to install six miles of fiber optic cable in Canton and Rensselaer Falls, which will connect to a system that Slic operates there.

“One of the most important things is the development of broadband,” Clarkson University President Tony Collins said, noting broadband’s role in business development since so much can now be done remotely. “We’re reaching the point where it’s not the hindrance to development that it was even two years ago. It makes us more reliable and that’s a huge advantage.”

In addition to redevelopment efforts at industrial sites like the former General Motors powertrain plant in Massena and Star Lake’s former Jones & Laughlin Steel Co., Mr. Kelly said identifying potential relationships between higher education and economic development is significant to the county’s future development strategy. [Read more…]