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State grants

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For the second year, the north country came out a leader in the competition for state funding for economic development.

The North Country Regional Economic Council on Wednesday was awarded $90.2 million in state grants to fund 82 projects across the region.

The funding made the region one of the two top performers just behind the $93.8 million that went to Central New York. Last year, the regional council was one of the four best among 10 in the state, earning it more than $100 million in grants.

Rather than a top-down approach to development, the state awards are based on recommendations made by regional councils. They take a grass-roots, community-based approach that involves developers, officials and business people in evaluating grant applications based on regional assets and needs. It also streamlines the grant process.

The north country council’s choice of small-scale, job-creating projects spreads the benefits throughout the region rather than concentrating on a fewer megaprojects. Clarkson University President and Council Co-chairman Anthony G. Collins described them as “firecrackers, rather than explosions.”

Mr. Collins, despite his modesty, has been instrumental in creating a coalition of men and women from across the north country. Mr.Collins and the team have done outstanding work on the region’s behalf.

Their selections reflect diverse needs of the large geographic region with grants for housing development, telecommunications and infrastructure. In doing so, Northern New York has proven once again that it can compete with the rest of the state.

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