TUPPER LAKE - The community action group ARISE - Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy - held its first meeting of the new year last week, and talk focused on Governor David Paterson's "State of the State" speech.
ARISE President Jim LaValley said Paterson's comments on stimulating the upstate economy were encouraging.
"In order to accomplish that, special interest groups must remove themselves from interfering with the regulatory review processes," LaValley said in a release.
It's no secret that ARISE supports development here in the North Country. Most notably, the group has backed the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort project, which aims to develop the land on and around Mt. Morris and the Big Tupper Ski Area into a year-round Adirondack getaway.
At last week's meeting, LaValley continued to stress that the ACR project would be good for the local economy. He also noted that the project meets the density guidelines put forth by the Adirondack Park Agency.
"The Adirondack Club is the perfect fit, at the perfect time," LaValley said. "It will provide much needed work to area residents, provide a much larger tax base, stabilize existing businesses, create new businesses, while enhancing the existing natural resources in the area."
LaValley says ACR investors are "fast-tracking their effort to get the final pieces of information to the APA."
"Which is encouraging news during such challenging times," he added.
Environmental groups have countered that the proposed resort would represent a gross over-development of the lands surrounding Mt. Morris and have even challenged the project's economic impact.
But LaValley counters that those same environmental groups are over-stepping their grounds and unduly influencing the APA.
"ARISE encourages those groups and individuals who are opposed to the ACR project, to stop hiding behind false reasons, and allow the Adirondack Park Agency to do its proper review, in a timely manner," he said.
Jim Ellis is on the ARISE Board of Directors. He says the town of Tupper Lake has been planning for the ACR project since 1990.
"In that year the town adopted the Tupper Lake Land Use Plan during my service as Planning Board Chairman," he said. "The planning board spent two years working to 'collapse' building density from back country areas to places within the town that could be serviced by existing water, sewer and electric lines."
Ellis notes the location of the planned resort was originally selected as a "high priority development zone."
"We did our due diligence in 1989 and 1990 and have been awaiting the time when such bold, pioneering planning efforts could bear real economic fruit," he said.
Ellis says environmental groups need to understand the importance of creating jobs in the Tupper Lake community.
"The general membership and directors of these groups need to understand how they are hurting the people of Tupper Lake and how difficult it must be for them to look into the eyes of the local business owners and residents," he said.