Birth of the Alliance
By Brenton Crozier
Part 3 of a 4 Part Series by the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance
In Part 1 – Rise to Greatness, the factors, spirit and people that made this small town such a celebrated location by so many were explored. Part 2, looked at the rather bleak picture of Ticonderoga Today and the many challenges the town faces. Birth of the Alliance, is Part 3 and presents not only a nice sentiment of hope, but the actual work, the innovative solutions that are being instituted by passionate residents with a vision that have come together as part of the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance.
In mid-2010, the sheer unacceptability and burden of the town’s social costs enabled the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance to come into being on the back of an unprecedented grass roots citizens’ Alliance from all walks and interests. The new Alliance quickly secured, in turn, a sweeping Town mandate to facilitate a complete economic makeover and playbook for a new broader regional prosperity.
The principle operating tenants of the new Alliance would prove largely contrarian. They called for (i) an integrated economic makeover in place of a series of “one-up”, disconnected projects, (ii) exceeding municipal boundaries into regional networks of varying distances and complexities, (iii) emphasizing universal deployment of project-specific funding/operating partners, whereby (iv) the Alliance would focus on offering partner and funding outreach, integrated communications, transactional and project management as well as overall coordination of the economic development objectives for Ticonderoga. This, in turn, would necessitate (v) deployment of a full-time, accomplished, professional management team and (vi) an emphasis on private investment (over public financing).
Timing Is Right
There is tremendous potential in creating this first-ever citizen Alliance. This movement is not happening in a vacuum. A powerful new trend of middle class flight from the cities and suburbs back to small towns throughout the country, aided by new technologies and rapid development of regional education “nets”, is settling in for good. Small towns everywhere are taking up the revitalization mantle. Stories of successful programs are recorded monthly. There is little need any more for inventiveness- only proven programs need apply.
The Alliance intends to leverage its Power of Place and private investments to lead its revitalization efforts. Initial projects will reaffirm Ticonderoga’s role as an important gateway to American history as well as its strength as a year-round outdoor paradise of parks, waterfalls, river walk, and lake access– all through a singular vision of a New Prosperity. These projects will attract fresh capital, ideas, people to a vibrant year-round tourist destination, stimulate small business/value-add jobs, and be anchored by expanded residential housing, resort facilities, and key academic and regional links.
A New Compact
The Town is pledging predictability, transparency and sustainability; the town citizenry pledges broad consensus and urgency; and Ticonderoga’s principal corporate citizens pledge founders capital and constructive input.
Armed with significant reaffirmations of its partnerships with its principle corporate citizens, the Alliance is not looking for handouts. It intends to provide meaningful returns on corporate investments – apart and aside from the substantial public relations value to any one of these companies to be gained for helping to revitalize and rebuild an entire town like Ticonderoga!
- We have aligned under one, new, powerful, symbiotic framework all the interests and requisite resources to support most any project from a $50 million four star resort/streetscape bond issuance to $500,000 Main Street private investor distressed real estate Roll-up fund.
- We’ve launched the first stage of the roll-up fund and are securing control of our first Main Street building with private investors for less than five cents on the replacement dollar, intended to anchor all the downtown revitalization.
- We’re in the early process of setting up a trial arts & Artisans program with the planned construction of an 18th century replica sawmill and academic partners helping to anchor an Institute of Adirondack Woodworking and a separate institute of Adirondack Arts, which will look to attract juried artists and artisans with bargain real estate and open arms to come live, create and sell their wares in Ticonderoga.
- We’re also in the early process of identifying and reaching out to potential employers that would benefit from deploying out of Ticonderoga as a “regional Hub”.
- We’re also in the early process of exploring prospective partnerships with business and retail incubation & entrepreneurial mentoring services.
- Also on the immediate horizon are first-time planning within the Alliance between Town and Fort and Town and Community College to set up appropriate learning centers and integrated business opportunities relating to locational strengths.
The alliance has produced video interviews with residents and alliance members alike so that you can hear about their experience and fascinating stories first hand. This is Bill Polihronakis, who grew up in Ticonderoga and was eventually brought back to live and take over the family logging business. Below is part one of a three part interview. Visit the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance website to watch the other part, the other interviews, and to see the incredible photographs and other inspiring features.
Interviews conducted and produced by Josh Clement. Contact Josh here.
Be sure to visit Monday, July 25th, for part 4, “What Sets Us Apart,” and don’t forget to visit their official website for other features, information and updates.