In June, the longest-serving member of the Development Authority of the North Country’s Board of Directors, John B. Johnson, Jr., elected to step down at the conclusion of his current appointment by the City of Watertown.
Mr. Johnson, chairman of the Northern New York Newspaper Corporation, was first appointed by then-Governor Mario Cuomo as a non-voting member of the initial Board of Directors of the Authority, in 1985. He was reappointed as a non-voting member in 2006 by then-Governor George Pataki. He was appointed a voting member of the Board by the City of Watertown in 2009 and served in that role until June, 2021 – a total of 36 years on the Development Authority Board.
A strong supporter of Fort Drum, when the reactivation of the 10th Mountain Division was announced in 1984, Mr. Johnson immediately advocated for the creation of a locally-controlled regional entity to develop, own and operate critical infrastructure to support the expansion of the installation and benefit the entire North Country. This entity became the Development Authority of the North Country, which was created by the New York State Legislature in 1985.
During his service as a member of the Board of Directors, Mr. Johnson oversaw the development of water and wastewater facilities serving Fort Drum; the construction and expansion of the regional Materials Management Facility in Rodman; the development of the Western Jefferson County Regional Water Line; the creation of several loan funds to encourage economic development in the region; the creation and redevelopment of 4,000 units of housing through loan funds managed by the Authority; the development of the open access telecommunications network; the opening of three public recreational trails on Authority land; the launch of multiple recycling initiatives; the provision of technical services to the Authority’s municipal partners, and many more critical projects that benefit the North Country.
The Development Authority of the North Country expresses its sincere gratitude to Mr. Johnson for 36 years of dedicated service.