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River Agency considers hiring a consultant to boost economic development efforts


LOUISVILLE – The St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency is considering hiring an economic development consultant to help communities get the biggest benefit possible from the agency’s efforts.

The River Agency was awarded $16 million and 20 megawatts of low-cost power from the New York Power Authority in 2010 to be used for economic development.

In the past three years, the board has awarded more than $4.8 million in loans and grants to fund community projects and help businesses get off the ground.

But board members said Tuesday that they would like to take bigger steps to create more long-term jobs.

“We’ve got to do something,” board member Edward J. Murphy of Massena said. “This is year three. We need to start looking forward and just jump right into it. The truth of the matter is the manufacturing businesses are declining. We’re not going to get another General Motors.”

Patrick J. Kelly, CEO of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, said he would explore costs of consultants to help guide the agency’s efforts and prepare the information for the board’s next meeting.

“This kind of expertise doesn’t come cheap,” Mr. Kelly said. “But I think investigating different channels is a good idea. We have to consider whether it is worth spending the money to find somebody with a broader sense of connections to the outside world. We also need to pay them to bring prospects or ideas to the area.”

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