July 2016 Feature Story: Agbotics

Automated Agriculture

Left, Cody Morse, left, automatics engineer, and Sean Hanson, head grower, are the men behind the machine at Agbotic.  Opposite page, a robotic tiller tills soil between rows of leaf lettuce. The metal spades make contact with soil to dislodge weeds. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Left, Cody Morse, left, automatics engineer, and Sean Hanson, head grower, are the men behind the machine at Agbotic. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Agbotic digs new ground for organic farming

By Marcus Wolf, NNY Business

John P. Gaus’s vision for his automated and organic farming company, Agbotic Inc., took one of its first major steps with a 1,200-square-foot prototype greenhouse built in 2014. [Read more…]

Community shows enthusiasm for city’s downtown revitalization application

Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. speaks at a rally for the $10 million downtown initiative competition that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is holding. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Daily Times.

Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. speaks at a rally for the $10 million downtown initiative competition that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is holding. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Daily Times.

Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. called for the crowd to make noise on Thursday at a pep rally to show support for the city’s efforts to win a $10 million award from the state. [Read more…]

May 2016 Cover Story: Economic Development

Securing a stronger future for the north country

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Despite workforce challenges, regional economic development continues to power positive growth across Northern New York

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

A rural and historically challenged region where economic development was often stagnant, the Great Recession dealt a significant blow to New York’s north country as its counties saw a spike in unemployment and manufacturing jobs disappear, including about 600 from Jefferson County alone. [Read more…]

November 2015 20 Questions: James W. Wright, DANC

Regional solutions at work

Development Authority of the North Country executive director James W. “Jim” Wright talkes about the Authority’s 30-year history in his office at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Development Authority of the North Country executive director James W. “Jim” Wright talkes about the Authority’s 30-year history in his office at the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

30 years later, DANC develops tools for success

A landfill hauler dumps trash at a regional solid waste management
facility. Workers install new fiber-optic cable for a high-speed telecommunications line. An entrepreneur acquires a loan to start a seasonal resort.

Those are but a few activities in Northern New York made possible by the Development Authority of the North Country, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The authority has seen many growing pains since it was established in June 1985 by the state Legislature, finding numerous ways to contract with municipalities and residents across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. On the occasion of 30 years of service, we sat down with DANC Executive Director James W. “Jim” Wright to learn more about his agency’s mission and its future. [Read more…]

Regional council talks gains for north country with state funding

The state Strategic Implementation Assessment Team listens to North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry F. Douglas, right, present on the ‘new north country’ regional developments. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Daily Times.

The state Strategic Implementation Assessment Team listens to North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry F. Douglas, right, present on the ‘new north country’ regional developments. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Daily Times.

CLAYTON — The message to the state’s Strategic Implementation Assessment Team was clear: State money has made an impact in the north country, in areas such as job creation, green energy production, industry investment and military retention. [Read more…]

June 2015: Guest Essay

Developing local tourism products

Guest writer Gary DeYoung

Guest writer Gary DeYoung

As a destination marketing organizations, the task Thousand Islands International Tourism Council is to market the region as a visitor destination. The postcard scenery of the Thousand Islands, its historic character, its rural charm, its recreational opportunities are all attributes have long been used to draw visitors who spend money. In the end, money is what tourism about. It is not about simply drawing visitors, it is about drawing the money they spend while visiting. How do you monetize the St. Lawrence River? How do you cash in on history? How does fishing on Lake Ontario translate into local jobs? [Read more…]

May 2015: Agri-Business

A few ideas to ponder for our future

Columnist Jay Matteson

Columnist Jay Matteson

In March, a group of agencies and private businessmen participated in a “Big Ideas” session hosted by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. The purpose was to generate ideas that will allow us to compete with regions across the state for economic development money. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a competition in which a region could land $500 millon in taxpayer money to grow the local economy and create jobs. As I sat with other “big thinkers” I saw even more the potential for agriculture to help our region’s economy. Here are some “ideas” to ponder. [Read more…]

May 2015: Economically Speaking

North country is poised for growth

Columnist Michelle Capone

Columnist Michelle Capone

The north country is home to many successful businesses, and each day new businesses are born. They are born at the dinner table or in the college lab or on the back of a napkin. Several programs and services are available to assist start-up or existing businesses. [Read more…]

Regional Economic Development Council monetary breakdown

Projects and amounts each year affecting the tri-county area:

2011: 42 projects funded, with a total of $36,567,496.34

2012: 49 projects funded, with a total of $24,838,010

2013: 35 projects funded, with a total of $10,728,493

2014: 31 projects funded, with a total of $12,187,895 [Read more…]

February 2015: Guest Essay

Leading an economic renaissance

Columnist, Tony Collins

Columnist, Tony Collins

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council kicked off its 2015 planning cycle in January by assessing our progress and beginning discussions on the new initiatives proposed in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Opportunity Agenda and executive budget, including the Upstate Revitalization Fund and the Broadband Expansion Plan. [Read more…]