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Wild Center awarded a sweet grant

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The Wild Center is set to receive over $158,120 in grant money from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) to help fund its Northern New York Maple project.

The grant money will also be matched by local funds, increasing the total project cost to $258,656.

Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both U.S. senators, and Congressman Bill Owens announced the grant on Tuesday.

In the news release, Schumer described the funding as a “sweet success for the Northern New York Maple project ... as well as the local economy and jobs in the North Country.”

The New York Maple project, in collaboration with the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program and the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretive Center, will train local maple producers and create sites where tourists can watch maple sugaring demonstrations, promoting further growth of the industry.

“The Wild Center, with partners at Paul Smiths College and Cornell, stands ready and able to unleash the untapped potential of our maple syrup industry,” said Schumer. “And this investment would help them do just that.”

The Wild Center is an interactive museum in Tupper Lake that features indoor and outdoor exhibits to educate visitors about the history and environment of the Adirondacks.

Established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill, the NBRC is composed of the governors of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in partnership with federal, state, and local governments.

According to the news release, NBRC estimates the project will create 40 jobs in the North Country.

Each state is responsible for requesting support to fund projects ranging from transportation, telecommunication and public infrastructure to economic development, health care, conservation and alternative energy.

U.S. Senator Gillibrand, who wrote to the commission in support of the project, was optimistic about its potential impact.

“This is an important investment for the North Country. This federal funding will help boost local economic development efforts.”

Congressman Bill Owens was one of the main proponents involved in funding and reauthorizing the NBRC, which also awarded $123,000 to the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena to construct a rail spur on the existing CSX St. Lawrence Subdivision.

“This is a perfect example of putting the unique assets and characteristics of the region to good use for job creation and economic development,” he said. “I congratulate everyone at the Business Development Corporation and The Wild Center on these awards, and on the work they are doing to promote better infrastructure, train local producers and increase tourism in support of local business.”

rmiller@mtelegram.com

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