SARANAC LAKE - The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages has released a long-awaited multi-agency study that profiles municipalities throughout the Adirondack Park.
The report is the culmination of two years of research aimed at establishing a baseline of information for planning and discussion of park issues. The wide-ranging study focuses on community life, government operations, land use, infrastructure, emergency services, education, and park-wide demographics.
Adirondack North Country Association executive director Terry Martino said the report's findings will benefit the entire park.
"We welcomed the opportunity to participate in regional research which profiles our Adirondack Park communities," Martino said.
Martino said the results from the assessment provide a solid foundation for economic development in the Adirondacks. She also noted the report will be the starting point for a broader public discussion on issues impacting Adirondack Park communities.
"I think the profile begins to present a view of what it's like for the 132,000 people that live within the park and what it is that our municipal governments' challenges are and what their opportunities are," Martino said.
The Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Report began taking shape in 2007, when ANCA partnered with the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages to secure state funding through the Department of State's Quality Communities Grant Program. Those grant funds allowed researchers to collect data park-wide.
Association President Brian Towers said the report "provides a foundation for sustainable planning of the region's diverse communities," and the information collected from the 103 municipalities will be important for future development.
"This report presents an extraordinary collection that hopefully will be used in developing a vision to address the long range needs of our residents," Towers said.
The report shows that two-thirds of state-owned lands in New York are located in the Adirondack Park, although nearly all of the land is concentrated in less than half of the park's municipalities. The research also reveals 40 percent of residential properties in the Adirondacks are owned by out-of-park residents.
Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas, a regional director for the Association of Towns and Villages, said the report helps local officials identify what local municipalities have in common.
"With all this information about land use regulations, zoning laws, different code laws, I think it will be very helpful for us as a group to apply for grants," Douglas said. "Right now the state is stressing shared services, by knowing what everybody has for services, it helps us when we're applying for actual grants."
Eighty-five communities participated in the study, which was led by the LA Group of Saratoga Springs. The Siena Research Institute, the Center for Government Research and the Technical Assistance Center of SUNY-Plattsburgh helped with research during the project.
Copies of the report may be obtained by contacting elected officials from Adirondack towns and villages. The report's executive summary can be viewed at www.aatvny.org