Keeping Tug Hill’s towns and villages, and hamlets vibrant is key to retaining the region’s character and economy. The Commission’s Community Development program seeks to empower individuals, groups, and municipalities through promoting a ground-up, participatory approach that involves connecting people with resources necessary to affect change in their own communities. This is accomplished by providing training and technical assistance at all stages of project development—from research and needs identification, visioning and strategic planning, consensus building, leveraging public and private resources, developing project funding scenarios, or grant administration. Most importantly, we seek to creatively leverage the existing wealth of knowledge and experience in Tug Hill communities to identify common concerns and work across jurisdictional boundaries.
Working with economic development organizations of the North Country and Central New York, the Commission also provides technical assistance to the business community to encourage “home grown” job retention. In trying to remain good places to live and work, Tug Hill’s sparsely populated communities are challenged to find traditional funding for “Main Street” revitalization, parks, and other community facilities. However, through linking small, rural communities along a common corridor or area, individual communities are able to identify and promote themselves as part of a larger project or region.
Water and sewage systems provide residents with a valuable service and play a major in community health and growth potential. However, increasing costs and competition for available funds, is making it more difficult for communities to move ahead on the construction of new systems or replacement of deteriorating systems. In response, the commission has been playing a role in helping Tug Hill communities work with state and federal agencies and private consultants to identify cost-effective and/or alternative strategies for building these systems.
Commission staff are currently working closely with the Village and Town of Parish on an adaptive reuse plan for the Parish Elementary School, which will be surplused by the APW school District in September of 2012. For more information, see the project website: http://parishschoolplan.ning.com/
Commission staff are also currently working closely with the Village of Lyons Falls on their Brownfield Area Opportunities (BOA) Program Nomination Study. The purpose of the Study is to examine the reuse of underutilized and vacant properties within the Village. For more information, please visit http://lyonsfallsboa.wordpress.com/.