Adirondack Development Strategy
Advancing Economic Development Implementation
The Strategies
The Adirondack Economic Development Strategy and Plan to Advance Key Projects is a streamlined approach to developing a strategic economic development plan for the Adirondack Park communities. The approach is implementation oriented and focused on getting real projects planned, designed and working on the ground.
  • Tactical approach offers assessment evaluation, prioritization and support for decision making to move forward quickly
  • Builds on recent and ongoing credible processes to maintain momentum
  • Strategy will condense, plug holes, offer outside critique and test ideas and put ideas into physical form
  • Update relevant tourism data, market assessment and demographics as necessary
  • Provide a succinct strategy that compliments ongoing planning
  • Develop an "inside the blue line" economic strategy that can be integrated into the three New York State Regional Economic Development Councils covering the Adirondack Park communities

This project is led by Hamilton County through the Adirondack Partnership. The Adirondack Community Housing Trust is serving as the project administrator. Hamilton County has selected a multi-disciplinary team led by Margaret Irwin from River Street Planning & Development from Troy, New York to assist with the planning and implementation.

This work product was prepared for the New York State Department of State and the New York State Department of Enviromental Conservation under Title 11 of the Enviromental Protection Fund (EPF) and the EPF-funded Adirondack park Community Smart Growth Program.
This project combines two components:
The Project Partners
Hamilton County
Hamilton County is serving as the grant recipient and administrator for these grants. In this role they oversee progress, administer funding and supervise the project team.
Adirondack Partnership
The Adirondack Partnership is overseeing the grants for Hamilton County and assisting with all aspects of community involvement marketing. The partnership was formed in 2010 under the leadership of Bill Farber, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors and seeks to have all of the legislative bodies, the boards of supervisors, the towns, the villages brought together into one group focused on economic development. The Partnership is a consortium of municipalities and economic development agencies across the Adirondack Park.
Adirondack Housing Community Trust
The day to day administration of these grants is coordinated by Caroline Hotaling at the Adirondack Housing Community Trust. The ACHT is incorporated as an independent not-for-profit corporation with board members drawn from various communities of the Park. ACHT is staffed by Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, under a contract between the two organizations, but ACHT is fully controlled by its own board. Adirondack Community Housing Trust utilizes the Community Land Trust (CLT) model for perpetually affordable housing. The first CLT's were developed in the 1970's. There are now some 200 in the country, and the number is growing rapidly as more communities are concerned with preserving affordable homeownership.
Common Ground Alliance/Adirondack Futures - Matching Partner

The Common Ground Alliance of the Adirondacks is composed of a diverse set of local leaders from the Adirondacks, including elected officials, private entrepreneurs, and representatives of education, economic development, health and environmental non-profit organizations who are dedicated to identifying solutions that benefit Adirondack communities, their economies and the environment.

Jim Herman and Dave Mason have led a scenario planning project about the future of the Adirondack Park in upstate New York under the auspices of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA). The work has proceeded to the point where there is a vision and strategy for the region and now they are beginning to work through various implementation efforts. Since the 2012 CGA Forum, they have prepared a document which summarizes the vision and strategy implied by the results of the workshop series. They have also been starting to track and coordination the various implementation efforts underway. For more information see

This project will take the work of the ADK Futures project as a starting point to develop much more detailed strategies for economic development in the region and test them against market data. The Adirondack futures project is being used as match for the New York State Department of State grant that is funding this strategy.

The Project Advisory Committee
  • Bill Farber, Adirondack Partnership
  • Mark Hall, Supervisor, Town of Fine
  • Zoe Smith, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Carol Calabrese, Essex County IDA
  • James McKenna, ROOST
  • Kate Fish, ANCA
  • Brian Wells, Supervisor, Town of Indian Lake
  • Leslie Irwin, Chamber Alliance of the Mohawk Valley
  • Nick Rose, CAP-21 (Mohawk Valley Region)
  • Kim Finnigan, representing CEG (Capital Region)
  • Peter Aust, Adirondack Chamber (Capital Region)
  • Andy Labruzzo, NYS Department of State
  • Dylan Walrath, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Carol Hart, Executive Director of AATV, Fulton County
  • Sue Montgomery Corey, Supervisor Minerva, Essex County
  • Evelyn Wood, Supervisor Thurman, Warren County
  • Steve Bagetis, Supervisor Ohio, Herkimer County
The Consultant Team
River Street Planning & Development - Troy, NY
Community planners with focus on consensus building, community development, hamlet revitalization and implementation financing
Tourism Economics/Oxford Economics - Philadelphia, PA
Tourism experts with focus on economic data evaluation, trends analysis, market profile and forecasts
DCG CorPlan Consulting - East Orange, NJ
Evaluation of opportunities, job creation forecast, testing ideas for viability in real-world economics, financing strategies
Toole Design Group - Boston, MA
Recreation-based tourism strategy and marketing approach
MJ Engineering and Land Surveying - Clifton Park, NY
Multi-disciplined firm providing planning and civil, environmental and transportation engineering
Adworkshop/Inphorm - Lake Placid, NY
Public relations support and marketing program development in implementation phase
Project Contacts
Margaret Irwin
River Street Planning & Development, Project Manager
Caroline Hotaling
Adirondack Community Housing Trust, Program Administrator
William Farber
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, Chairman
Mark Hall
Town of Fine, Supervisor
Andrew Labruzzo
NYS Department of State, Project Manager
Dylan Walrath
NYS Department of Environment Conservation, Project Manager
The Team
Hamilton County has selected a team of seasoned senior professionals who have local understanding and a fresh outside perspective. The approach is vision-driven, market-tested and results-oriented. Building upon a collective consensus vision, the team will test the real markets for investments and produce a tactical strategy to speed program implementation of priority projects. The condensed one-year timeframe will dovetail with Regional Council Strategic Plans and funding rounds. The following companies comprise the team.
The lead consultant for the team is River Street Planning & Development, a woman owned company with offices in Troy and Utica, NY. Principal Margaret Irwin will serve as Project Manager. River Street has worked successfully in the Adirondacks with CAP-21, ANCA and other organizations on a variety of projects including public process, regional housing and revitalization strategies, community development, comprehensive plans, and zoning updates. They are a recognized leader in economic development driven plans, outreach, consensus building and management of multi - disciplinary teams. River Street has a strong background in all aspects of community development including housing, small business, health care and infrastructure.
The tourism related economic and market research will be conducted by Tourism Economics/Oxford Economics from their Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office. They are a worldwide reputation providing credible and actionable research. They provide a yearly update for NYSESDC on the success of the "I Love New York" campaign, profiling every county in NYS and are in a unique position to help position the region as a model for other environment-driven economies.
The evaluation of other economic development components will be led by DCG CorPlan of West Orange, New Jersey. They are both a national leader in strategic planning, economic development, corporate site selection, real estate development feasibility, studies and market analyses and an advocate for small businesses, recognizing the value of the region's emerging hubs and historic hamlets.
Planning, landscape architecture, and community design services will be provided by Toole Design Group from their Boston, Massachusetts office. They have a national practice in planning, landscape architecture and engineering for sustainable development, outdoor recreation and multi-modal transportation and are devoted to creating sustainable, green and dynamic economies in natural places.
From Lake Placid, NY Adworkshop/Inphorm will assist with all marketing components helping to build a park-wide strong identity for the Adirondacks of the future. Their access to proprietary data on tourism program metrics and ability to evaluate success of past and current marketing approaches is critical to test the overall study and generate a marketing component.
Finally, the infrastructure assessment and engineering component of project implementation, as well as planning assistance will be led by M.J. Engineering of Clifton Park, New York.

From offices in Troy and Utica, NY River Street provides public process and community planning services to communities of all sizes – from a Comprehensive Plan for the rural Village of Earlville (population under 500) to revitalization strategies for large cities like Hartford, Connecticut (population 1.2 million). River Street supports organizations and developers throughout the northeastern United States and provides mediation services nationwide. Services offered include public meeting planning and facilitation, focus groups, mediation, economic development and land use planning, zoning, historic preservation, market analysis and conservation planning. River Street provides assistance at all points in the planning process - from market assessment and impact analysis, through plan development and financing, to post-development evaluation and monitoring. The firm's philosophy of service is action-oriented, balancing community aspirations for scenic and natural resources conservation with sustainable economic growth through strategies that support vibrant communities and reflect local values and resources. Services offered by River Street Planning in the area of economic development planning include tourism development plans, economic development strategies, land management analysis and drafting downtown revitalization plans, and commercial and industrial feasibility studies. The firm's approach is typically asset-based, building on what is unique and successful in a community to establish priorities, identify development opportunities and stimulate new business formation.

River Street Planning specializes in facilitating public processes and identifying a consensus vision that can be shared and supported by diverse stakeholders. River Street's successful experience in numerous communities of all sizes has taught us that significant public participation and strong community partnerships are the critical ingredients for progressive planning and strategic action. River Street offers an effective, outcome-oriented approach to community planning that builds consensus and community capacity, strengthens local leadership and shapes community pride and vision -- vital ingredients for successful community action.

The firm's well-established economic development practice informs its perspective on community planning and enables us to identify successful implementation steps and projects that create work and wealth for local residents. The team's work has resulted in dozens of projects that are designed, built and operating successfully on the ground today. The firm's extensive experience with public and private funding sources and program administration enables us to provide clients with the necessary tools for successful implementation of important projects. Over the past ten years River Street has worked with clients to procure more than $150 million in financing for economic development projects, microenterprise programs, waterfront revitalization, industrial park development and marketing, public facilities projects, housing rehabilitation programs, historic preservation and affordable housing projects.

Margaret Irwin
Principal, River Street Planning & Development
Location: Troy, New York
Role: Team leadership, project management, planning, community consensus building
Contribution: Conscientious project manager, grounded experience and network in the North Country, recognized expert facilitator, well established economic development, planning and development practice, well established relationships with NYS DOS and NYSDEC
Supporting Team Members:
  • John Holehan, Principal
  • Monica Ryan, AICP, Principal Planner
  • Amy Ferguson, GIS Specialist
  • Anne Savage, Community Outreach Specialist

Tourism Economics is an Oxford Economics company with a singular objective: combine an understanding of tourism dynamics with rigorous economics in order to answer the most important questions facing destinations, developers and strategic planners. By combining quantitative methods with industry knowledge, Tourism Economics designs custom market strategies, destination recovery plans, tourism forecasting models, tourism policy analysis and economic impact studies. With over four decades of experience of their principal consultants, it is their passion to work as partners with their clients to achieve a destination's full potential.

Oxford Economics is one of the world's leading providers of economic analysis, forecasts and consulting advice. Founded in 1981 as a joint venture with Oxford University's business college, Oxford Economics enjoys a reputation for high quality, quantitative analysis and evidence-based advice. For this, its draws on its own staff of 30 highly-experienced professional economists; a dedicated data analysis team; global modeling tools, and a range of partner institutions in Europe, the US and in the United Nations Project Link. Oxford Economics has offices in London, Oxford, Dubai, Philadelphia, and Belfast.

Tourism Economics has vast experience in providing actionable and credible analysis of travel activity. Their staff has worked closely with clients throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and North America to monitor, quantify, and forecast tourism activity. The firm's work has been with developers of large tourism projects as well as with governments seeking to make optimal strategy and policy decisions. Tourism Economics and its partner, Oxford Economics, are founded on state-of-the-art modeling expertise. This is best evidenced by the Oxford global economic model that is used by blue chip companies and governments around the world, in addition to the US Treasury, World Bank and IMF. The company's Tourism Decision Metrics forecasting model is the most rigorous of its kind, taking into account both economic and destination determinants. Their global tourism database of origin-destination visitor flows and spending has the best country and indicator coverage of any private sector provider through our partnerships with the UNWTO, PATA, and the CTO along with our internal updates of the most recent trends. The Oxford Economics global model covers 190 countries and is updated constantly by their data team in Oxford.

For this project, the company will complete three main tasks:
  • Provision of five-year trends in the tourism economy for the Adirondack Region, by county and by sub-industry.
  • Market profile for visitors to the Adirondack Region, including their demographic profile, origin, spending patterns, and activities.
  • Forecasts of tourism demand to the Adirondacks in terms of visitor volumes and spending

The accuracy of the data they use, and the quality of their analysis, are critical to the success of their business, and the strength of their client list is testimony to the high standards they maintain.

Tourism Economics quality assurance processes include the following steps:
  • All reports prepared for clients subject to in-house review by at least two senior economists
  • Use of electronic data feeds where possible to avoid need to manual entry of information, and double-checking of data when manual feeds cannot be avoided
  • Agreed systems for handling of data revisions and for adjusting historical data where necessary (e.g. because newly released data only include revisions back to a certain date and imply a sharp 'break' in the series prior to then); and
  • Programming of spreadsheets and other manipulation packages to ensure calculations based on source data are accurate.
  • Feedback from clients, and more widely from work that is published, is used to improve standards in terms of techniques used and forms of presentation of results.
Adam Sacks
President, Tourism Economics
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Role: Tourism evaluation, forecasting and market assessment, sought after speaker on economic impact of tourism, state, national and international experience
Contribution: State of the art forecasting and market assessment, accurate and actionable research, I Love New York campaign evaluation, fresh eyes and ideas
Supporting Team Members:
  • Chris Pike, Senior Economist
  • Michael Marino, Senior Economist
  • Zachary Sear, Senior Economist

DCG Corplan Consulting LLC (DCG Corplan) is a national leader in strategic planning, economic development, corporate site selection, real estate development feasibility studies and market analyses, corporate planning, and distribution. DCG Corplan's principals have counseled nearly 25% of the Fortune 500 corporations, assisted with more than 2,600 location decisions, as well as hundreds of assignments for public development agencies in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. The firm provides strategic guidance to public agencies with practical business attraction/retention programs and implementation. Public sector clients include regional, state, county and municipalities who seek economic development and diversification in specific industrial, commercial, trade, and tourism activities, as well as development entities who seek assistance on positioning surplus or underutilized facilities into positive cash flows.

For private sector assignments, the firm is dedicated to helping corporations or private investors improve their bottom-line results and capitalize on growth opportunities through geographic repositioning of their capacity. Corporate clients include major industrial and service companies for whom DCG Corplan provides guidance on expansion, consolidation, or reconfiguration of administrative, marketing, production, research, and distribution facilities, including: headquarters and field offices, manufacturing plants, data centers, laboratories, telemarketing centers, and warehouses. The firm combines the talents of experienced professionals in the following five practice areas: Economic Development, Corporate Site Selection, Trade and Distribution, Real Estate Development, and Consultative Marketing. DCG Corplan Consulting LLC is headquartered in a modern, company-owned office facility in West Orange, NJ, and at a western regional office in Pleasanton, CA (suburban San Francisco).

Bruce Hoch
President, DCG Corplan
Location: East Orange, New Jersey
Role: Economic development planning, real estate evaluation telecommunications implementation
Contribution: Extensive economic development experience nationwide, new ideas from established projects, telecommunications expertise in rural areas, broad range of site selection experience bot small scale and major industries
Supporting Team Members:
  • Dr. Ernest Swiger, Sr. Consultant, Economics and Planning
  • Gregory Ward, Consultant, Finance

Toole Design Group (TDG) has a national reputation in pedestrian and bicycle planning, research and facility design; rail-trail planning and design; transit accessibility; Safe Routes to School planning and design; transportation master planning; traffic calming; park and recreation development, and a variety of other related areas. The firm has an experienced team of over 40 professionals in the fields of planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, public health, GIS mapping, and graphic design. They are proud of their sustainability in the workplace: Over 80% of the firm's staff bicycle, walk and use transit to get to work each day. TDG is a 100% Woman-Owned Business headquartered in Silver Spring, MD; with offices in Boston, MA, Madison, WI, and Seattle, WA.

TDG has an outstanding reputation for results-oriented planning. Their plans identify specific locations for improvements, set priorities for implementation, and provide initial cost estimates. More importantly, their planning process builds momentum among town and agency staff, elected officials, advocates and the general public to ensure projects and programs move forward immediately upon completion, and often even before the plan is completed. They have produced successful plans for communities throughout the Unities States ranging from large urban centers to small towns and rural areas. Toole Design has extensive experience working at the regional level helping identify gaps and barriers as well as coordinating with local, regional and state agencies, and non-profit partners to develop successful plans that work for the region as a whole.

At Toole Design Group, the philosophy is simple. They believe that bicycling and walking are fundamental forms of transportation that should be available to everyone, whether young or old, rich or poor. They also work with the understanding that proactive planning for walking and bicycling can be a key economic development strategy for a region. The firm's job is to help communities plan, build and retrofit their transportation and recreation systems so that bicycling and walking are safe, efficient, and healthy options and that they contribute to the economic health of a region.

Nick Jackson
Regional Director, Toole Design Group
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Role:Recreation planning and design, multi-modal transportation, landscape architecture and community design
Contribution: New ideas and approaches, national reputation as progressive multi-modal transportation and complete streets expert, experience with recreation and tourism based implementation, WBE (NYS Certification pending)
Supporting Team Members:
  • Jennifer Toole, ASLA, AICP, President
  • Laurie Pessah, AICP, Senior Transportation Planner
  • Robert Patten, Senior Planner
  • Peter Robie, Planner

M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (M.J.) is a multi-disciplinary engineering, planning and land surveying consulting firm with 33 years of experience. The firm provides public and private sector clients with a comprehensive range of professional services. MJ's team of planners, engineers, land surveyors, architects and LEED-accredited professionals provide sensible solutions to a wide range of clients.

MJ's broad engineering experience has been demonstrated on hundreds of successfully completed projects throughout the northeast from concept design through to construction. M.J. has been involved in numerous projects that are intended to enhance tourism and recreation in upstate New York. Each of these efforts also leads to improved infrastructure that is critical in spurring economic development. Some examples include the Troy Riverfront Park, Restoration of the Historic Champlain Canal in Halfmoon, the Five Rivers Educational Center in Delmar and Rehabilitation of Whitehall Harbor.

M.J. understands the unique needs and challenges facing upstate New York's small communities and also offers community planning services to assist communities and private clients across New York State with their immediate and long-term planning needs. MJ's director of planning has worked with several communities within the Adirondack Park and has working knowledge of the complexities of the Park. The firm's design and engineering expertise, coupled with the company's land use planning experience will serve to help communities identify opportunities and transition those opportunities into reality.

Jackie Hakes
Planning Director, MJ Engineering and Land Surveying
Location: Clifton Park, New York
Role: Land and community planning, GIS, project implementation and engineering
Contribution: Wide network and experience in the North Country, new perspectives, strong-implementation orientation, familiar with all regional planning programs
Supporting Team Members:
  • Brian Cooper, Senior Site/Civil Engineer
  • Richard Dearstyne, Project Engineer
  • Lisa Wallin, Environmental Engineer

Adworkshop & Inphorm is an integrated digital marketing agency providing creative and strategic solutions for today's marketing challenges. Founded in 1977, Adworkshop was the first advertising agency in Lake Placid, and remains the largest full-service agency from the Capital District region of New York State north to the Canadian border. The agency is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), a NYS certified Women-owned Business Enterprise, as well as an established New York business located in the Adirondacks and within the North Country region for over three decades. The integrated capabilities of the agency allow it to stand out among larger agencies, while its intimate size gives it agility. Layered with talent from different backgrounds, wrapped with passion and experience for marketing, Adworkshop channels this energy to build successful brands. For over a decade, the agency has been a member of Alliance of Marketing Organizations (AMCA), an invitation-only network of marketing agencies with expertise in marketing communications, advertising and public relations. As an agency, Adworkshop's thirty employees live, breathe and work in the place they love. Adworkshop is community minded and participates in a number of recreational activities. Additionally, they service the Adirondack community in different ways whether assisting with school, arts, food pantry, or charitable organizations.

Their client base over the past three decades has been predominantly tourism, economic development and destination marketing, therefore across different campaigns, projects and co-op programs they have worked with many organizations and businesses in the community.

The company's connections into the communities throughout the Adirondack and North Country region run deep. Adworkshop boasts 35 years of marketing experience, serving a diverse group of clients including cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the Adirondack and North Country regions. Their expertise is far-reaching and their clients range from tourism promotion agencies to chambers of commerce, town supervisors, convention and visitors bureaus, county tourism agencies, and attractions and lodging properties throughout the region. Currently Adworkshop works actively with the following organizations in the Adirondacks and North Country region.

The scale of the tactics and overall strategy and support vary, but this should provide a snap shot into how far-reaching their work is within the region:
  • Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (8 counties that promote economic development through tourism)
  • Hamilton, Franklin, and Warren County Tourism Agencies
  • Franklin County IDA
  • Development Authority of the North Country (DANC)
  • Town of North Elba
  • North Country Chamber of Commerce
  • Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • Lake Placid/ ROOST
Adele Connors
Principal, Adworkshop
Location: Lake Placid, New York
Role: Adirondack community outreach, knowledge sharing on Adirondack Region economic development and destination marketing, Adirondack professional business perspective
Contribution: Decades of Adirondack economic development and destination marketing experience, Adirondack Futures participant, successful professional business owner for 35 years in the Adirondack Park
Supporting Team Members:
  • Darcy Norfolk, President, PR Strategy
  • Tom Connors, Principal
  • Kari Hoffman, Account Executive
  • Mike Sengenberger, Digital Marketing Strategist