The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance has a new director. Chattie VanWert has been named to the post.
The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance has a new director.
Chattie VanWert has been named to the post.
J. Justin Woods, who took the job last September, left the job because of a funding shortfall. Woods will officially be done Aug. 31, but is using vacation time until that date.
Jim Major, chairman of the alliance board, welcomed VanWert to the position.
The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance is a not-for-profit, local development corporation whose mission is to restore economic prosperity in the Ticonderoga region. It’s goal is to serve as a clearinghouse for ideas and resources and be a catalyst for public-private partnerships and investment opportunities.
“When I was invited to join the Ti-Alliance board of directors last spring, I was excited to become involved in an organization that could have a very positive impact on the local economy,” VanWert said. “I didn’t anticipate it would turn into my ideal job.
“Having been in business here since 1987, I am aware of many challenges the business community faces and I also know most of the business owners,” she added. “I have good working relationships with local organizations such as PRIDE, the chamber of commerce, TMSP (Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership), Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga School system, Ticonderoga town government and, of course, Inter-Lakes Health as a board member.”
Van Wert has 20 years of experience owning and operating small businesses in Ticonderoga. A graduate of St. John's Academy in Plattsburgh, she also holds an associate’s degree in data processing from SUNY-Canton and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY-Albany.
After a 15 year career in IT, she and her late husband, Jeff, operated several businesses in Ticonderoga. Their first business was the Ranchouse at Baldwin on the north end of Lake George, where they lived and raised their two sons, Ben and Gerrit. They then purchased Sunshine Laundry and Sunshine Corner Apartments in 1992. In 1994 they added a diaper service and in 2004, they added Sunshine Car Wash.
After losing her husband in 2008, VanWert sold the car wash later that year. She sold the laundry and apartment building in 2011.
In addition to running their businesses, VanWert has been a member of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce, is engaged in organizing Streetfest and serves on the board of directors of Inter-Lakes Health. She is also a member of St. Mary’s Parish finance council and was chairwoman of the church’s recent Summer Festival Formal Dinner and Auction fundraiser.
“We have our challenges but we also have so much that other communities just don’t have,” VanWert said. “Nestled between Lake George, the queen of American lakes, and Lake Champlain, and surrounded by the Adirondack and Green Mountains provides a quality of life that attracts thousands of visitors each year. We have internationally-known Fort Ticonderoga bringing our local history to life with year round activities for all ages.
“Our school system is highly rated and North Country Community College continues to offer new curriculum and wants to work with our community in mutually supportive capacities,” she said. “With Inter-Lakes Health and our affiliation with Fletcher Allen and Hudson Headwaters Health Network, we are part of a progressive and quality driven health care system right here in our town. Soon there will be lights on the hill and the old hospital will be completely renovated to provide quality homes to income-qualified adults who are over 55 or disabled.
“Right now Bridge Point Technologies of Crown Point is bringing broadband technology through fiber optic cable to our town,” VanWert said. “We have a strong workforce and good jobs at International Paper. We are a strong farm community with fresh locally grown produce, a CSA (Community Assisted Agriculture) farm and soon a much needed meat processing plant to support our farmers.”
The future look bright, VanWert said.
“Currently we are working with private investors to redevelop key downtown buildings and have submitted grant applications for three projects,” she said. “We are developing cultural activities that will bring artists/artisans and regional tourists downtown. The Downtown Gallery featuring many local artists has been very well received this summer and we are devising a plan to keep it open with the support of interested volunteers.”