HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Village leaders recently started a public initiative to develop a multi-faceted economic development plan for the Hoosick region. The third in a series of meetings titled "Hoosick Rising," will take place at the HAYC3 Armory, 115 Church St., on Tuesday, July 22, at 6 p.m.
Designed for community input, "Hoosick Rising" combines the efforts of local government and Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs, New York, to develop economic projects in planning, implementation and evaluation.
Camoin senior vice president Jim Damicis took to the first Hoosick Rising meeting in May to introduce himself and the realities of what Camoin is able to do in assisting with economic revitalization.
Village deputy mayor Ric DiDonato said past economic development plans in the area never followed through well, but that Camoin helps plan and pursue those revitalization proposals. "Jim has a reputation for creating goals specific to communities' needs and then meeting those goals," he said.
During the June meeting, Damicis and village and town leaders laid out the historic and present economy of the Hoosick area. On Tuesday, Damicis and village mayor David Borge are taking the third step by looking at where Hoosick fits in the niche of its future economy.
"We can no longer look to an abundance of mills and large industry to come in: That time has come and gone," Borge said.
To begin the ongoing economic development plan, the village has realized its present need for small businesses driven by tourism, technology, media and data, going forward.
The village and the Town of Hoosick are working together with the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce for the first time in several years. The chamber has begun to market the vacant industrial building on Mechanic Street to attract a new business or manufacturer to the village.
Borge said many more announcements will be made on July 22, rolling out the start of new economic initiatives, which have been embargoed until the meeting.
The economic initiative is more than a commercial initiative. Hoosick Rising seeks to begin a drive for municipal energy efficiency, at the same time increasing recreational opportunity with actions such as the "Greenway Trail" expansion along the railroad.
"We want our community to attract people as a place to play and a place to live in addition to being a place to work," Borge said.
Not having been updated since 1977, the town and the village are planning joint meetings to revamp and synchronize more modern zoning laws to help attract businesses.
In addition to perhaps initializing some economic incentives, the local 10-year inactive development corporation will return to help augment commercial interest.
DiDonato said this economic initiative is not new, but is just now starting to be realized through the Hoosick Rising meetings. Both the mayor and deputy mayor suggested that the initiative cannot be fully realized without the help of the area residents, which have been increasingly present in consecutive meetings.
"We need to involve more members of the community," DiDonato said. "You never know if there is a good idea out there until you need it. Some talk on the street is positive and some is negative; Some has merit and some doesn't There could be residents that we don't know of that might have talents, abilities or expertise that could help us."
The village's leadership has also stressed the difference of this economic initiative versus previous ones, that its focus is not solely on the village or the town, but on the entire region.
"This plan will involve all of the Hoosick area's assets: The recreational and historical corridors and our neighbors," Borge said. "The philosophy of this is that what is good for Bennington or Cambridge is good for Hoosick, and (vice versa)."
The Hoosick Rising meetings will take place once a month. See the Banner community calendar or the Village of Hoosick event calendar online at http://www.villageofhoosickfalls.com/index.html for future meeting dates.
Find out more about Camoin Associates at http://www.camoinassociates.com/index.aspx.
Contact Tom Momberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg