Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Common Ground Alliance Invites Public to Attend Virtual Winter Meeting

School enrollment map from Northern Forest Center reportRegistration for the Thursday, March 25 event is free and open to all

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and the Northern Forest Center invites community members to join their winter meeting on Thursday, March 25 at 12:30 p.m. The free virtual event will update the community on progress since the 2020 CGA Annual Forum and present the Strategy for Attracting New Residents to the Adirondacks.

Advance registration is required for the one-hour event, which will be held on Zoom Webinar.

You can view the agenda here.

The 2020 Common Ground Alliance forum in July focused on the topic of Attracting New Residents to the Adirondacks. At the forum, 98% of the participants agreed with the statement “Attracting new residents – particularly younger ones — to the Adirondacks is a necessary and positive thing for the region.”

During the July forum breakout, participants explored ideas to make their own communities more welcoming, attractive and accessible to new residents. Specifically, those designed to both retain young people in-region and attract people who love the Adirondacks but haven’t lived here.
Due to the pandemic, many people have a new-found ability to work remotely and treasure more than ever the chance to spend time outside, in small communities, and in the fresh air of the Adirondacks. Our strategy is to reach and invite that audience.

The Winter CGA meeting is an opportunity to reconnect, hear an overview of the strategy, and learn from a panel of residents of another Northern Forest community, Millinocket, Maine, that is facing similar challenges.  The panel will discuss how their community has come together to attract new residents through revitalized civic institutions, public-private partnerships, and entrepreneurship.

“We have an amazing opportunity to come together as communities and as a region to focus on attracting new residents,” says Leslie Karasin, Adirondack Program Manager of the Northern Forest Center.  “The demographics of our communities are aging, and so we need to retain and attract young people to ensure that we can support our schools and other civic institutions, have a strong workforce, and maintain a robust economy.”
Winter meeting attendees will also have the opportunity to hear an update on the 2021 Blueprint for the Blue Line.

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, non-profits 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:
    • Investments in multiple communities to make sure that authentic, walkable downtowns are connected to nearby recreational assets and amenities
    • Partnerships with the Adirondack Diversity Initiative to ensure our communities are safe and welcoming for all
    • Efforts underway to make quality rental housing more accessible

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.

Image from the report: A map showing school district enrollment changes from 2008-2018 in the Adirondacks. Information from the National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/

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