NYPA, Regional Officials Want to Use "Aquarium
Dollars" for Tourism, Economic Development Study
Connie M. Cullen
December 2, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MASSENA—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced
today that it intends to use money owed to it by the St. Lawrence
Aquarium & Ecological Center (SLAEC) toward a comprehensive regional
master plan for tourism and economic development in St. Lawrence County.
“We’re eager to direct this money to the St. Lawrence
County Industrial Development Agency [IDA] to help fund a comprehensive
plan for bolstering the county’s tourism industry and overall economic
development,” said Timothy S. Carey, chief operating officer, NYPA.
“This area of New York has a great deal to offer visitors, including
outdoor attractions and a rich history and culture. We want to support
local efforts to attract tourists and create new jobs, and we believe a
study of this magnitude could help steer us in the right direction.”
“I’m gratified by the Power Authority’s continued
support under Governor Pataki for encouraging economic development here,
beyond the low-cost hydropower it provides Alcoa and G.M. from the St.
Lawrence-F.D.R. Power Project,” said Senator James W. Wright. “We want
to bring together in one document some of the innovative ideas
percolating for expanding our economy. So I’m appreciative of the Power
Authority’s plans for the refunded money, along with its other recent
“I think creating a master plan is an excellent use for
these funds on the part of the Power Authority. It is very important
for a community to have a vision and plan for future development.
Expanding our tourism and economic development opportunities can only
strengthen St. Lawrence County and support our local businesses,”
Senator Raymond A. Meier said.
In September, an attorney representing the St. Lawrence
Discovery Center notified NYPA it would receive $144,439 of its
unexpended contribution. The money is what remains of approximately $1.6
million the Power Authority had provided the SLAEC for an aquarium
project; a project that has since folded due to a lack of a successful
local fundraising campaign.
St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency’s
Administrative Director Raymond Fountain commented, “On behalf of the
St. Lawrence County IDA I would like to express our gratitude to NYPA
for their contribution toward our area’s economic development
efforts. These funds will allow us to develop a coordinated strategy for
the promotion of tourism and the enhancement of our economic development
efforts in St. Lawrence County. We are clearly aware of tourism’s
significant role in the economic well-being of St. Lawrence County and
Fountain went on to say, “Through a process of working
with economic developers, chambers of commerce, education, industry and
government leaders we feel we can best integrate the promotion of
tourism into our mainstream economic development efforts. The challenge
will be to identify concepts to promote tourism, evaluate what is
currently being done, determine what future projects would draw tourism
and investment to this region, and improve our overall economic
“To me, it’s all about job creation and improving the
quality of life in St. Lawrence County. I’m very appreciative of NYPA’s
commitment to creating jobs and creating better jobs so that the people
of St. Lawrence County can have a better quality of life,” said Tom
Nichols, chairman, St. Lawrence County Legislature. “It’s imperative
that we create a strong team and by having NYPA, Senators Jim Wright and
Ray Meier, local governments and the county IDA working together, I
believe we can achieve that goal of a better quality of life in St.
Earlier this year, NYPA trustees approved an agreement
for the Power Authority to provide up to $10 million to bring technology
companies to St. Lawrence County, as part of an ambitious plan to
leverage another $20 million in private investment for creating new
businesses and jobs to the region.
The $10 million the Power Authority has agreed to
provide for this endeavor is part of $26 million NYPA plans to commit
toward tourism and economic development efforts in the North Country.