Johnson Newspaper closures shouldn’t affect $400K in loans, IDA director says
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 5:26 pm

CANTON – The Johnson Newspaper Corporation, publisher of the Courier Observer and Watertown Daily Times, has closed its Canton office, but St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Director Pat Kelly said it shouldn’t impact the loans they received in August of 2019.

“My understanding is that the jobs in the Canton office are being moved to the main Massena printing facility and that the move won't have an impact on employment levels in the county,” he said.

Kelly said he expected to have firm numbers of employment soon.

The North Country Economic Development Fund Board approved a $300,000 loan and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency approved a $100,000 loan to the publishing company.

The two loans totaling $400,000 are for working capital. Typically NCEDF loans are geared toward job creation, but in this case no job growth is required.

The Development Authority of the North Country administers the loan package offered by the NCEDF.

Michelle L. Capone, director of regional development at DANC, said the $300,000 loan is for a five-year term and that the NCEDF board will “require a good faith effort” to maintain 38.5 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs in St. Lawrence County.

However, Cappone said at that time the company employed people in 37.5 FTE jobs.

Like many newspapers across the country, the company has significantly downsized in recent years. Last year the company closed down the Ogdensburg Journal and Canton Plaindealer.