2020 Blueprint for the Blueline to Focus on Attracting a New Generation
The Adirondack Common Ground Alliance and Northern Forest Center view the future success of the Adirondack Park as one that includes a younger and more diverse group of new residents.
The Alliance’s findings, and supporting reasons for them, were presented Thursday and are the result of small group discussions with more than 200 Adirondack residents, educators, business owners, community leaders, and local government officials representing 56 different communities during a two-day virtual Forum held July 14-15. A recap, including presentations and video, are now available at CommonGroundADK.org.
The results will serve as the foundation for a strategy for Adirondack communities to Attract a New Generation of Adirondack Residents, led by the Northern Forest Center. The outcomes will also provide the platform for the 2020 Blueprint for the Blue Line, a list of policy recommendations to share with Albany leaders.
“The Common Ground Alliance should be a model across the state and across the country. The work that you’re doing to bring people together in a way that allows each voice to be heard provides a powerful platform to move our communities forward,” said Judy Drabicki, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Executive Deputy Commissioner, who joined Thursday’s closing session. NYS DEC Commissioner, Basil Seggos, was a participant in last week’s session.
Highlights of the 2020 Forum findings include:
- Young people living in the Adirondacks are making incredible contributions to shaping the future of the Park, and were dynamic voices as part of the Forum. A third of the participants in the forum were under 45. Forum participants noted striking contributions that young people are making across multiple sectors, including business and entrepreneurism, local government, nonprofits and the arts.
- There are simple, low-cost ways that communities can take quick action towards becoming more attractive to and welcoming to potential new residents: Examples include:
- Grassroots efforts to welcome new community members
- Local initiatives to make community information about events and jobs more accessible
- Forming networks and affinity groups to provide new ways to build community
- Community-driven steps that can provide models to build on include these examples:
- Efforts underway to make quality rental housing more accessible
- Partnerships with the Adirondack Diversity Initiative to ensure our communities are safe and welcoming for all
- Investments in multiple communities to make sure that authentic, walkable downtowns are connected to nearby recreational assets and amenities
“We were excited to bring our on the ground experience from other rural communities across the Northern Forest to the Common Ground Alliance forum this year,” said Rob Riley, President of the Northern Forest Center. “The work that community members and local leaders engaged in at this year’s Forum is an important step to position Adirondack communities to address our challenges and successfully attract new residents.”
“This year’s forum allowed us to look comprehensively at solving one of the region’s biggest challenges – how do we create more welcoming communities for younger populations,” said Zoë Smith, CGA core team member. “CGA will use the results of the forum to identify solutions that can be moved forward with our elected leaders in Albany.”
The Common Ground Alliance was formed in 2007 to identify opportunities for dialogue among diverse, and at times, competing stakeholders looking to seek collaborative action. The Alliance promotes inclusiveness, mutual respect, transparency, candor and trust to guide open discussions and foster a productive exchange of idea across a multitude of viewpoints.
Those interested in becoming involved in the Common Ground Alliance can contact the organization and sign up to join its newsletter at CommonGroundADK.org.