RAY BROOK - A new executive director with economic development experience was named to lead the operations of the environmentally-driven Adirondack Park Agency, and local officials are pleased with the choice as it may mean a more moderate direction with the agency they've sparred with for decades.
State officials appointed Terry Martino, now Adirondack North Country Association's chief as the new Executive Director of the Adirondack Park Agency effective August 12.
Among those praising the choice of Martino was Warren County Board of Supervisors Fred Monroe, who serves as Executive Director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, an APA watchdog panel. For decades the two agencies have clashed over land use regulations, with the Review Board fighting for landowner development rights and job development, while the agency has battled for environmental conservation.
"I see this as a very positive step," Monroe said, noting that in Martino's position leading ANCA, she was immersed in seeking ways to spur the economy of the Adirondacks. "She'll most likely be providing some realism in decision-making, and she'll balance the interests of environmentalists with those who realize we need economic development in our communities."
State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury)offered a similar opinion.
"Terry's a very good selection," Little said. "She understands our economic issues and she's worked for many years with local governments so she knows the pressures they face. I think she'll do a very good job of bridging some of the differences we see between the environmental and economic development communities."
Monroe noted Martino had worked as Director for many months on the Adirondack Regional Assessment Project, which concluded in a report recently that Adirondackers desperately need economic development to provide good jobs for an adequate lifestyle.
Martino also was praised by APA officials, including APA Chairman Curtis Stiles.
"Terry Martino brings an incredibly rich background and understanding of the Adirondack Park, its people and its needs," Stiles said. "We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Terry's established management abilities, leadership skills and demonstrated success in the key leadership position at the Agency."
Martino gave a glimpse of her approach in a prepared statement she issued last week.
"Throughout my career, I have recognized the tremendous value of balancing economic and community development with environmental stewardship inside the Park," she said.
Martino has worked for the ANCA since 1986,serving as as Program Director before her promotion, in 1991, to the top position in the non-profit agency that is committed to economically viable communities, environmental stewardship and protecting a rural quality of life.
She has also worked with other agencies supporting economic development, including the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance and CBN Connect, which is seeking to extend broadband into the Adirondacks.
Jon Lundine of the Lake Placid-Essex County Visitors Bureau praised Martino's appointment.
"For the region, the appointment of Terry is a huge plus," he said. "Being a native of the area, she has a real understanding of the issues, and her work with ANCA allows her to elevate the human side of the issues facing us all, blending with them the needs of economic development."