By Todd Shimkus
Before we look forward to 2020, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce had such a great 2019 that we have to take a quick look back on just some of our biggest accomplishments, including:
1. In partnership with Discover Saratoga, Mannix Marketing, Skidmore College, the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association and the Saratoga Springs City Center, the Chamber is now one of seven organizations collaborating to provide one online community events calendar.
Event organizers can enter their information about events in Saratoga County on any of our seven websites and that information feeds to all separate sites. The goal is to make sure our local events and festivals are found and more people attend.
2. In partnership with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, Empire State Development, former state Sen. Karen Marchione, state Sen. Daphne Jordan, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, Mayor Meg Kelly, the Chamber hired Munter Enterprises and built a 7,700-square-foot field house on the Navy base in Saratoga Springs. This facility will provide Navy sailors and their families with a safe, secure, convenient and indoor facility for recreation, movies, basketball, volleyball, drills, education, and graduation.
3. In partnership with SUNY Empire State and the Saratoga County Capital Resources Corp., the Chamber created the Saratoga County Institute of Management. Nearly 75 employees from area firms took part in one or more of the three tracks with six classes, each in an effort to learn best practices for becoming a more effective leader in their workplaces.
4. In partnership with the City of Saratoga Springs, the Park Place Condominiums, Saratoga Arts, Discover Saratoga, the Saratoga Springs City Center, and the Saratoga Springs DBA, the Chamber led the effort to save the fireworks display in Congress Park, in downtown Saratoga Springs, as part of the First Night Saratoga Celebration on Dec. 31.
5. In partnership with CDTA, the Chamber is reaching out to employers in Clifton Park, Halfmoon and Mechanicville to help launch a pilot program to test a micro-transit program that would improve public transportation services in southern Saratoga County. The goal is to provide a new public transportation option for workers living in these communities to safely, conveniently and affordably get to and from work.
What do these five accomplishments have in common? The answer is one word : Partnerships.
All of us at the Chamber of Commerce have long believed in convening creative ideas and positive partnerships. Working collaboratively with other organizations who share our mission to expand economic opportunities across Saratoga County is a key to our success in 2019 and that will again be the case in 2020.
In 2020, we will again partner with a range of organizations to change things for the better, including:
1. In partnership with SPAC, UPH, Skidmore College, Caffe Lena and others, we’re helping to organize a comprehensive new advertising campaign to brand Saratoga County as a world-class community for arts and culture. The goal is to attract more visitors to experience the arts and our cultural attractions like never before.
2. In partnership with leaders in the Village of Schuylerville, the Town of Saratoga, Saratoga County, and U.S. Rep Elise Stefanik, Sen. Jordan, and Assemblywoman Woerner, we’re visible and vocal advocates for a plan to restore the Old Champlain Canalway that connects Hudson Crossing Park with Fort Hardy Park and runs along the Empire State Trail.
We expect to have results from the EPA and DEC soon that will inform decisions as to what must be done to get this water flowing again. The goal is to see this area become a new recreational, educational, and historic destination that attracts local residents and visitors to Schuylerville year-round.
3. In partnership with leaders in the Town of Malta, we’re hosting regular meetings between employers in Malta with the town’s elected officials. The goal is to collaborate to support the new Malta Works economic development program.
4. In partnership with RPI’s Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, we look forward to hosting our sixth annual Startup Saratoga event in October. The goal is to shine a light on local tech sector entrepreneurs and to grow Saratoga County’s tech sector.
5. In partnership with dozens of local residents who volunteer for our award-winning SCORE program, we look forward to providing even more free and confidential business planning advice to help local firms get started. These services will be available in both our offices in Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs. The Chamber’s SCORE program has been one of the top performing SCORE programs in the nation in terms of business startup successes and job creation and we hope 2020 will be even better.
Our willingness to partner with so many organizations and leaders in the public, private and impact sectors to get things done is vital to our Chamber’s success but more important to Saratoga County’s success. By combining our time, talent and treasure with other organizations who share our commitment to Saratoga County’s economic success, we are able to do far more than we ever could on our own to ensure Saratoga County will always be a great place to live, work and play.
By Todd Shimkus