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Brewster Film Festival!!

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Perhaps We Should Consider the Vacancy Rates, Needs and Wants of the Public When Assessing Development Possibilities?

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Development is a major component of regional growth, enabling a community to modernize by building better infrastructure to attract new business and investors, thus increasing the tax base.   However, its also important to know how the vacancy rate of commercial properties fits into the equation.  New property is going to be less desirable if it’s surrounded by a whole host of vacant buildings.  Long range planning of future development is contingent upon balancing these concerns and making sure that existing properties get filled while a proper amount of new development springs up to enhance and support the existing inventory.

Unfortunately, Putnam County doesn’t track its vacancy rate.  Usually this sort of data is used to keep track of significantly larger markets.  New York City, for example, lists its 2nd Quarter 2012 office vacancy rate at 7.1%, while retail comes in at 2.2%.  In Albany the numbers were 15.2% and 8.9%, respectively, and for Westchester, 18.0% and 8.2% (source:  www.reisreports.com).   In assessing the future of our county, and in determining what industries to attract to Putnam, it would seem valuable to have access to this same data.   That way we can address potential concerns and factor the empty properties into plans for development and growth.

The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is conducting a survey to help determine needs and wants for building sustainable industry clusters in our communities – available at putnamchamberny.org/public-survey.html or putnamchamberny.org/business-owner-survey.html .  Ideally, new businesses will fill vacant buildings first and then move into newly-developed space; of course in reality there will be a combination of both.   The end result will be an improvement in the economic conditions of our county, one way or another.  As we utilize tools such as the survey and other available data, we are gathering vital data to help facilitate coordinated planning for our future.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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Primary Votes Are Super Important

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In Putnam County, people tend to be pretty committed to strong political viewpoints.   As such it has been a rarity these days to see a truly contested general election, and primary results seem to be the major factor in deciding who is elected to our local governments.  Certainly redistricting and new candidates may alter the landscape somewhat this year, but still it is of vital importance for the electorate to be informed and show up at the polls on Primary Day, September 13, 2012, from 6AM-9PM.   Business owners need to have a say in who their representatives are, and while it is not the purpose of this column to advise for or against a particular candidate, it’s definitely important for us all to be informed and cast our ballots for the individuals we prefer.

 

So many major issues are at stake this year – the idea of bringing industry clusters to Putnam, taxes and regulation on current businesses, development and quality of life for residents, etc.  Clearly its important to have a say in how these concerns are addressed, and participation in the voting process ensures that you will be heard come November.

 

Chambers of commerce do not take partisan stances but the strong ones do become active in advocating for local businesses.  The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is conducting a survey to help determine needs and wants for building sustainable industry clusters in our communities – available at putnamchamberny.org/public-survey.html or putnamchamberny.org/business-owner-survey.html .  Ideally, new businesses will fill vacant buildings first and then move into newly-developed space; of course in reality there will be a combination of both.   The end result will be an improvement in the economic conditions of our county, one way or another.  As we utilize tools such as the survey and other available data, we are gathering vital data to help facilitate coordinated planning for our future.

 

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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Attention Residents and Business owners of Putnam County!! We want to hear your opinion!!

Please take our web surveys to help us better evaluate how we can make the business environment more business friendly in Putnam County. 

Any questions? email me direct Jenn@Jennifermaher.com

Yours in committment to progress & quality of life,

Jennifer Maher
Chairwoman of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

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Economic Development Efforts are Paying Off!

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Recently, a commentator in another newspaper boasted that businesses in downtown Mahopac are booming.  It’s true that Mahopac is becoming a destination in its own right, where people can walk, shop, dine and now can even enjoy some culture with the new Gallery “Look Art”.  Clearly all the tools are there for quite an economic surge in Mahopac.  It has everything one could possibly want in a commerce district centered on a breathtaking lake. Sure some improvements are still needed, such as more convenient parking and a better exit off the bike path, but all in all it is a very viable commerce district.

 

I believe each of our towns has something unique that could attract visitors from other towns, counties and even across state lines.  Downtown Carmel has a picturesque view along Lake Gleneida, access to main roadways and room to grow.  Kent has its natural resources such as Fahnestock, Veterans Park and lots of other beautiful places to hike swim and fish. Brewster has its beautiful architecture and small village charm. Cold Spring has the majestic Hudson River and towering mountains serving as a backdrop for shopping, festivals, and fun. Putnam Valley has Lake Oscawana, agriculture, parks, sunken mines and a Norman Rockwell quality to it. Patterson has  recreation to go along with its pretty town – the Great Swamp plus the county’s only skiing facility and rolling hills with spectacular views!

 

The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce looks forward to working with each town to attract businesses that provides culture and improves quality of life. After all we are a reflection of our community, so let us continue to improve and grow. In every town, village and hamlet there is work to be done and that is where we will find the passion to get it done – among those who live work and play in our downtowns.

 

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

www.jennifermaher.com

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Assessing Possibilities Of Attracting Business To Putnam

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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

http://www.jennifermaher.com

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Recognizing a Community Leader , Entrepreneur and Family Man.

Each year, chambers of commerce throughout Putnam County recognize those among their community who have demonstrated a concern for their community and strong business sense  Thto be Richie D’Andrea of Park Ford in Mahopac.  
Park Lincoln-Mercury, of Yonkers, was founded in 1975 by Richie’s wife Donna’s father, Leonard Conora.  Richie went to work for the dealership in 1979 and met Donna during his tenure e Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce has chosen their 2012 Businessperson of the Year there.   He then left to work at Ford Motor Company for a few years before returning to Park in 1982.  Richie and Donna married in 1983, and the couple settled into a life of running the dealership and raising a family.
In 1996, the couple financed everything to buy out their business partner and relocate the franchise from south Yonkers to north Yonkers, then moved the business, now called Park Ford, to Mahopac just four years later. With the family working together and risking it all , Tlthe dealership has been very successful – even in a challenging economy their best-ever volume and profit was in 2011.  Now employing 38 people, the company has spent another $500,000 to expand in 2012 and plans an enhanced service department.  Richie and Donna have three sons, Richie (27), Nick (24) and Thomas (17).  Nick has followed in Dad’s footsteps to work in the automobile business at Park Ford. In Fact Nick recently helped me in my leasing of a Ford Focus ( I love my Focus!).
Of his award, Richie displays the usual low-key and humble demeanor that has made him so well respected in the community.  “This success is only through being an active member of the Chamber,” says Richie.  “It is to be shared with all the active members.”  A personal role model, friend and mentor, Richie helped lead the expansion of the Mahopac-Carmel Chamber in recent years, as him and I also co-directed the Shop Putnam Business and Home Expo for 3 years in a row.   The local business community is lucky to have the D’Andrea family be such active partners in leading us forward!
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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ACTION!! Let’s attract cluster development to Putnam County!

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Bringing Industry Clusters to Putnam

As mentioned several times in my weekly column in the Putnam County Courrier, an industry task force is meeting and beginning to share its thoughts with us on possibilities for future industry development in Putnam County, aimed at providing good jobs, lower taxes and a higher quality of life for all.

Some ideas are pretty obvious – arts, culture, tourism and commercial recreation.   Cold Spring and Garrison’s famous homes, antique shops and artisans are a well-known attraction for people coming up from the City for a getaway.   Lake Mahopac is the closest lake to NYC for boat rentals.  Thunder Ridge offers local skiing opportunities, and Brewster Ice Arena has figure skating, hockey, a gym and on-premise restaurant.  Perhaps we can bring go-kart racing or indoor Grand Prix cars into the mix, plus other forms of recreation to create a year-round playground for visitors.  With the picturesque countryside making an ideal movie backdrop for many films, media outlets may find Putnam appealing as well.

More challenging concepts may provide broader opportunities: technology companies for example, given our close proximity to the great Tech Valley exploding to our north.  Companies like IBM straddle our borders, and other big names are moving into New York State.  Perhaps we can get a piece of the action.  Another idea is health care business support.  Medicine is big business these days, and our region is known as New York’s BioHud Valley.  Can we build around Health Quest’s expanding network, plus Hudson Valley Hospital Center and others, bringing biotech jobs to Putnam County?

If you are a member of any of the Chambers of Commerce in our county, especially in Brewster and Putnam Valley which don’t have task force members, please consider participating in this dialog.  Also, financial and education partners need to be assembled to implement this vision.  A lot of work needs to be done, but we are up to the challenge.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

http://putnamchamberny.org/

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Mission Statement

Mission Statement

The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is dedicated to serving as the primary advocate, voice, and resource for our business community, in order to promote our members, provide educational opportunities and to enhance individually viable commerce districts through out our country.