Watertown-Fort Drum Ranks as 5th Best Micropolitan Area Based on Economic Strength

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Rankings are based on rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time. The Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) and local partners have a long history of working collaboratively together and have been successful in achieving long-term growth.

Named for Fort Drum, the largest Army installation in the Northeast, the character and economy of the region is deeply enmeshed with the post and its culture.

Drum Country, New York—Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties—is located in North Central New York about 70 miles north of Syracuse.

This index confirms that we have been successful in achieving long-term growth that enhances our communities as places to live, work and play. - Michelle Capone, Director of Regional Development, Development Authority of the North Country (DANC).

In a research report released recently by POLICOM Corporation, the Watertown-Fort Drum micropolitan statistical area ranked fifth best for economic strength out of the 576 micropolitan statistical areas in the United States. In 2004, the region was ranked 212th.

POLICOM, an economic development research firm, developed the index to study the characteristics of strong and weak economies. The index takes into account the condition of an economy from the viewpoint of its impact upon the “standard of living” of the people who live and work in an area.

“We’re delighted that the Watertown-Fort Drum area has been recognized for its economic strength,” said Michelle Capone, Director of Regional Development, Development Authority of the North Country (DANC). “Fort Drum is an economic engine for our region, and our communities and local partners have a long history of working collaboratively together for the benefit of all. This index confirms that we have been successful in achieving long-term growth that enhances our communities as places to live, work and play.”

According to the research, the highest ranked areas, such as Watertown-Fort Drum, have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time. The lowest ranked areas have been in volatile decline for an extended period of time.

The Watertown-Fort Drum micropolitan area has shown an upward trend in its rankings over the past ten years. Recent wins include the region being awarded two projects through the ConnectNY Broadband Grant Program providing additional investment in rural broadband in Drum Country as well as the expansion of Stream Global Services, Inc., a customer support center located in Watertown.

“What’s really exciting about this ranking is that it shows how our community has improved in economic strength for almost a decade, and pretty consistently,” continued Capone. “We continue to invest and reinvest in backbone infrastructure and lead the pack in middle to last – mile investment in fiber optics to the home helping businesses, as well as employees meet their needs in getting high quality broadband to their doorsteps thus enhancing overall quality of life. ”

Micropolitan statistical areas in the United States are defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as urban areas in the United States based around an urban cluster (urban area) with a population of 10,000 to 49,999. The designation is based on the town’s core population and not on that of the whole area. Like the better-known metropolitan area, a micropolitan area is a geographic entity used for statistical purposes based on counties and county-equivalents. Due to its growth, OMB designated Watertown-Fort Drum as a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in February 2013.

About POLICOM:
POLICOM Corporation is an independent economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies. From its research, it determines if an economy is growing or declining, what are causing this to happen, and offers ideas and solutions to improve the situation. POLICOM has created economic strength rankings for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas since 1996 and all Micropolitan Statistical Areas since they were created in 2002. http://www.policom.com.

About Drum Country Business:
The Drum Country Region is comprised of Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties in North Central New York State. It is so named because the region houses Fort Drum, a strategically important Army Base and home to the 10th Mountain Division.

Drum Country Business is a partnership comprised of the three countywide economic development agencies, a regional utility, a regional state authority, and a liaison between the communities and Fort Drum. Together, it serves businesses looking to expand or relocate to the area. http://www.drumcountrybusiness.com.

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