Category Archives: Broadband and Cell Services

CGA Amendment Working Group Offers Whitepaper

At the CGA Forum in July 2012, we presented the results of the ADK Futures work, and a number of working groups dove into various topics during the afternoon.  BTW, this year’s CGA Forum will use a workgroup format again.

One of those July 2012 groups discussed amendments to help towns get broadband, water, rebuild bridges more wisely, etc.  Neil Woodward and Kayrn Richards left with the task of writing up the notes and getting others involved.  By October 2012 a working group had organized itself and I wrote about it here.

Now it is June of 2014, and we are pleased to say good work has been done on the data gathering and legal thinking.  It has come far enough to be worth sharing for considered discussion.  There is no rush.  It’s taken 22 months to get this far, and it improved over time.  This is a complicated topic.  So, we offer a deeply considered proposal that we hope will find wide support and success over time.  We want your pubic voice in support, and we also want to hear concerns.  Take the time to download the map data (warning, large files involved) and read the other two appendices. This is not intended as a yes-or-no offer, it is an invitation for ideas to resolve the issues we find present.

Please pass along this information as you wish.  We welcome comments here (you need to create an account with your real name and log in) and anywhere else discussions might take place.  We expect to write followups here as the summer unfolds so you might want to check back from time to time.

Click here to download the CGA Amendment Working Group White Paper.

What is happening with economic issues?

Like all things economic, there are two views to express:  there is good news and bad news.   (Note: this doesn’t cover tourism and recreation where a lot is going on and will be covered in a separate post.)

First the good news

The idea of an ADK Venture Fund has been the subject of volunteer effort and an excellent and a large experienced advisory group.  This group raised the money to hire two people.  Reviews during the summer will get to a go/no go decision.  If we can do this w/o State funds in the first round, and prove it will work, then a second round might involve State development monies.  To be clear, the goal of the current effort is to prove that money making private sector ventures can be built here.

The Adirondack Partnership is working with two grants aimed at finding and assisting specific projects.  This is the follow-on work to ADK Futures.  Project principals are encouraged to engage with this effort now by using this survey:  Fill in what you can and ask for the help you need.

The construction of broadband is continuing all over the Park.  There is a new project in Indian Lake called Adirondack Teleworks that is hoping to get the teleworker job model going there.

There is movement on the energy front.  There are several schools on biomass boilers now and other bio-thermal projects are being built in Old Forge, Blue Mtn Lake, and 4 in the Albany area.  The pellet plant in Malone is being up graded for energy efficiency.  In other energy news, a bill (S. 4722) has been introduced in the NYS Senate to allow community net metering, similar to the law in Massachusetts.  This will allow people with homes in the forest (most of us) to buy solar panels that are grouped nearby with panels owned by others.

Global Foundry’s chip fab in Malta (Saratoga) is up and running with 2000 people.  Another $2.3 billion is being spent on an expansion.  There is rumor of another company building a chip fab in the region but no specifics have been released.

Bombardier in Plattsburgh makes subway cars and they have won large multi-year contracts with New York City, Chicago and San Francisco resulting in an expansion.  Nova Bus in Plattsburgh won a contract for 300 buses for the Chicago Transit Authority.

The Town of North Elba and the Village of Saranac Lake won a $463,000 grant to develop a comprehensive plan to revitalize the two areas.  The idea of joint planning looks good to us.

Lake George has a big ($545,000) “gateway” project to improve walk-ability, safety and water quality.  Lake George is also working on a revitalization plan, but with a budget of only $38,000.  Lake George is also considering zoning changes to allow a rebuilding and upgrade of the core village up to 4-6 stories.

Now the bad news

The last gas station (a Wilson Farms shop) in Wilmington is closing soon.  There might be a buyer hiding somewhere, but they have not surfaced.  Drivers will have to go to LP or Jay for gas.

There are reports that the remaining food store in Long Lake now plans to close off-season.  That leaves a Stewarts open in winter, but no other market.

The branch bank in Newcomb is closing.  People will need to go to Long Lake where there is another bank branch.

Federal workers at the Ray Brook prison are being laid off due to the sequester.

Protect’s lawsuit has stopped work on the the resort project and related renovations in Tupper Lake.  It appears the suit is about the permit process, suggesting the actual project is legal from a zoning perspective under the law since that was not challenged.  Now that it is in the legal process, there are no clues about when or what the next steps might be and there is no public involvement.  Even if it moves ahead legally at some point, like any business, it isn’t a sure-fire bet that it will be successful.

Progress on Broadband

The further development of broadband within the Park received a boost with the announcement of two more grants to extend existing networks of DANC/ION ($3.17m) and Nicholville Telephone, aka SLIC Networks ($2.65m).

Meanwhile, there has been good discussion of the benefits to come from wider deployment of broadband within the region in two posts by Pete Nelson at Adirondack Almanac:

In reading these you can learn a lot about how telework is already widely practiced in the region. There is a great website referenced, Adirondack Teleworks, which lists all kinds of telework employment opportunities.  You must register on the site to access the job listings.

Pete has a done a great job of summarizing the benefits of broadband and the vision for it as a basis for significant employment for the region.  The comments to his posts are often from people who are employed remotely.