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Various ideas have been presented of late as to what the future industries of our County might look like. Suggestions have included medical business support, media services, tourism/arts/culture, recreation, food processing/distribution, and information technology. Our proximity to New York City and its airports, educated workforce, protection from natural disasters, low crime rate and ample housing are all strong assets which will be attractive to a business looking to relocate here. Additionally, since culture and quality of life are also considered paramount to a successful industry cluster, our historical significance, recreational facilities, arts and pleasant environment would be terrific attributes. Clearly Putnam County has much to offer businesses looking to make a fresh start in our communities.
On the other hand, some shortcomings threaten to derail these attempts, starting with limited public transportation, watershed restrictions, limited and aged infrastructure, high cost of living and onerous taxes. Lack of broadband service, which hampers communications in the Information Age, also is a serious limitation. There’s limited access to start up capital, inconsistent local regulations, and the ever-present “NIMBYs” who would oppose any major initiatives simply because it means change and a new way of life in our neighborhoods.
Despite these concerns, there’s enough impetus to get something started. With vision and planning, strategic incentives, sharing of sales tax between towns, and perhaps a push for “greener” business ideas, an optimistic future is indeed possible. We need to continue to gather data and assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which can then be analyzed and used to enhance our strategies as we move forward. This is an exciting time, where dedicated citizens can have a hand in shaping the future economic vitality of Putnam County. We’ve come a long way in a short time in identifying the possibilities. Now it is time to press forward with alacrity to ensure prosperity for future generations.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, Putnam County Chambers of Commerce