GLENS FALLS — A few years ago, the pier at Bolton was in dilapidated condition.
“In 2009, the steamboat couldn’t stop at the pier. It was dangerous,” Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover said at the annual EDC Warren County outlook breakfast at The Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls on Wednesday.
The town, Bolton Landing Chamber of Commerce and the state’s Capital Region Economic Development Council have collaborated in recent years on an array of waterfront improvements, including rebuilding the pier, building a new visitors center and restroom facility, expanding the local history museum and putting lights in the park for night use, Conover said.
“We put the ‘landing’ back in Bolton Landing,” he said.
The town also collaborated with Lake George Land Conservancy to develop a hiking and bicycling trail system on the west side of Lake George.
About 6,000 people signed in a registration book in 2016 for hikers that climbed one of the peaks along the trail system, Conover said.
The value of collaboration within the eight-county Capital Region was the theme of the breakfast meeting.
Michael Yevoli, regional director of Empire State Development Corp., said employers should consult with the state agency, not just about ideas for new products and expansion, but also when a business has challenges.
“Even more so when you have a crisis or a need, don’t hesitate to reach out to us early on in the process,” he said.
Since 2011, the state has provided more than $437 million in funding for more than 500 economic development projects in the region, he said.
Yevoli said the eight-county region, “one short-day’s drive from half the purchasing power in North America,” has great potential for commerce and tourism.
The eight-county region has 21 colleges and universities, with a total of about 65,000 students, he said.
The region is becoming a hub for technology-related start-up companies, along with its traditional concentration of medical device and paper companies, said Andrew Kennedy, new president and chief executive officer of Center for Economic Growth, a regional nonprofit group that collaborates with EDC Warren County.
About 17,000 people in the eight-county region work at companies that were established within the last three years, he said.
The region had the fourth highest research and development spending in the nation in 2015, he said.
Kennedy said the Center for Economic Growth recently developed “Talent Connect,” a new program that helps employers recruit and retain skilled workers.
“We like to be that sort of connective tissue, that one-stop shop, to be able to tell that story,” he said.