News & Insights

President’s Message

Indicators underscore change is coming but be open to it

To the People:
Despite the prolonged winter and cool, wet spring, activity is now accelerating rapidly. The indicators are starting to reflect all of the investment, construction and job creation that is now occurring.

Look at any indices in recent months and one can now see our economy is changing. It’s one thing to talk to business owners that say they feel a difference in the air, where optimism has finally crept back into the mindset.

It’s a different story when the data now supports it. Sullivan County is experiencing the fastest job growth in the State, unemployment is down to 4.7%, well before the busy summer season and virtually everyone I talk to in the business community is discussing not being able to find
much-needed employees.

Economic Development success of course begins with suitable sites and an approvals’ process that is efficient and predictable. Having a business friendly government surely helps as well. We are working hard on the site development side and our development corridor towns and county government are clearly business friendly municipal partners.

However, that is only part of the story. Adequate housing, good schools and healthcare are keys to the economic development picture as well. On the healthcare topic, the great turnaround that was accomplished at Catskill Regional Medical Center as part of the Greater Hudson Valley Health Care system, having received excellent care there personally, coupled with a growing option of private urgent care and specialty practices, has been solved for the most part.

New housing options, particularly in the start up and rental market, are now being addressed with 1,200+ housing units encompassing multiple projects working through the approvals process. Schools will continue to be a challenge that we must chip away at. Current projects and others soon to come in housing and some non-associated sectors may be different, larger in scale, or very unique in their makeup; the type of projects that our communities either have not seen for decades or are experiencing for the first time.

We should keep an open mind to them and let the planning process shape and determine the best fit for the respective locations they intend to locate to. We are at the beginning of a development renaissance in our county the length of which we do not know. We must capitalize on this window of opportunity, which may mean doing things in ways that may not be traditional.
We ask that our communities be open to new development with an approach to finding ways to make projects work within existing parameters despite how different they may appear on the surface. It will help Sullivan County continue to grow, provide critical mass for
our local businesses especially in our suffering urban centers. Change is coming so let us embrace it and make it work for the better of all of Sullivan County and continue to improve our economic development future.

Marc Baez
President, Sullivan County Partnership