wild-center-2.JPGTupper Lake, N.Y. - The North Country was once again one of the big winners during New York State's economic development funding announcement today, being awarded $81.3 million and named one of the ‘Top Performers' for a third year in a row. The Wild Center Executive Director, Stephanie Ratcliffe and Director of Philanthropy, Hillarie Logan-Dechene were in Albany for the announcement.  The Wild Center was recognized as a Priority Project by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) and will receive $250,000 for Wild Walk, an experience that will allow visitors to view nature in an entirely new way.  "It is an amazing achievement and incredible testament to the community leaders on the North Country Regional Economic Development Council that the region's plan was chosen for a third year as a Top Performer," said Stephanie Ratcliffe. "Last year, Wild Walk received $1 million from this process towards its construction. This funding is for the exhibits and interpretation on Wild Walk. To continue to be recognized and supported as a Priority Project by our peers underscores the economic and social impact of The Wild Center.  The Council, whose members are all volunteers, is bringing the region together like never before. We are all working together to improve the North Country's economy with a unified vision and the state's award of $81.3 million is recognition of that hard work and cohesive planning. The Wild Center is proud to be seen as a part of the plan and congratulates all of the other winners."   Earlier this fall Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "The Wild Center is one of the North Country's great assets for outdoor recreation and tourism. Supporting this project through the Regional Economic Development Councils is part of the State's ongoing investment in attracting tourism and economic growth to the region. When completed, the Wild Walk will offer an unparalleled experience that will help draw new visitors to the area." Wild Walk, opening in July 2015, will be a new outdoor experience that will take visitors on an eight hundred fifty foot walk up into the Adirondack treetops on the Center's campus. The planned structure, designed by current staff and the team that developed the existing Wild Center, will include a network of bridges, raised platforms, tree houses, and other sometimes fanciful elements that are designed to deliver a fun and adventurous learning experience in the woods. By expanding the Wild Center's offerings, the project will help attract tourism to the North Country and also provide temporary construction jobs and year-round employment to area residents. For more information, please contact The Wild Center at 518 359-7800 or visit us online at http://www.wildcenter.org  

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Contact: Tracey A. Legat, tlegat@wildcenter.org