TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance has formed with an eye toward improving the local economy.
The group has the support of the Ticonderoga town board.
Alex Levitch, Alliance chairman, has high hopes for the group.
"Through the alliance, a new compact between the community and its citizens is being defined; for the first time, all the competing interest groups and factions have been brought to the same side," he said. "Rather than through handouts, we are fixing our problems through a series of high return investment opportunities."
Ticonderoga Deb Malaney believes the alliance is much needed.
"The Ti economy is a closed loop; folks are getting served ever staler and diminishing pieces of the same economic pie," she said. "Families go to bed hungry in our town. Young people have to start out somewhere else. Folks in their prime working years are often stuck in lower-wage jobs with little savings and equity value in their home and couldn't leave town if they wanted to. Many of our elderly live in poverty."
Malaney and Levitch are determined to reverse Ti's economic fortunes through the alliance and open up the region's clogged economy to a fresh flow of capital, people and ideas.
So far, 50 Alliance members have pledged $25,000 to the cause, as well as help in a handful of early alliance backed projects.
"That's the equivalent of raising $750,000 from our major corporate citizens, which is exactly what we plan to do," Levitch said. "The new compact has everyone vested as much in the revitalization as in the day-to-day."
Kelly O'Neil-Teer, the alliance's assistant executive director, said the group will unite the community and spur economic growth.
"Imagine a town united not only in planning and politics, but in strategy and design," she said. "The latter linking key elements of a large geographic footprint running from the fort to Four Corners, from Water Street to an historic downtown re-made in pedestrian square fashion.
"Tourists will flock nine months out of the year as we invest in and promote our capital base of extraordinary natural, recreational and historical location," O'Neil-Teer said. "They'll also come in response to a burgeoning arts and artisans Main Street community, which we intend to build around the likes of a working replica of an 18th century French sawmill, the offer of cheap/sweat equity housing, studio and retail space and academic partnerships underpinning one or more Institutes of the Arts right here in Ticonderoga.
"Couple this tourist trade with the building of an entrepreneurial backbone to nurture and develop new businesses, aggressive outreach to more light industry, expansion of the regional box retailing trade, more housing affordable at all levels - and you have the plan," O'Neil-Teer said.
Mike Connery, former Ti supervisor and former Essex County Board of Supervisors chairman, is on board.
"We're sick and tired of planning, even sicker of fighting," said Connery. "We just want to get on with doing."
For information or to participate in the alliance Email firstname.lastname@example.org.