County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s 2017 “State of the County” address, which will celebrate the “Year of the Millennial.” The Putnam County Chamber of Commerce has been saying for years now that to attract and engage the millennial generation and anyone of similar lifestyle, we must improve a few things. Hopefully, the “Year of the Millennial” will bring some new life into the issues we have been discussing for nearly a decade as we carry the torch for those that came before us.
Item number 1 – Public Transportation: There was much talk in the current County administration about public transportation being revamped. This effort must continue, identifying locations that buses can transport people to and from and placing bus shelters at strategic locations. The public transportation system should partner with tourism experts and local businesses to bring people into the county who will shop and dine with our merchants, and attend area events.
Item number 2 – Truly Affordable Housing: We need more market rate rentals and homes available to be purchased for under $200k. This will require some cluster development and mixed use properties in downtown areas. Brewster has incorporated this into their “Envision Brewster” plan in hopes of bringing millennials from the south into Putnam County and the village.
Item number 3 – 12 to 18 Hour Commerce Districts: We need to attract businesses that would be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday past midnight, plus boutiques, galleries, gourmet shops and more. Mahopac, Brewster, Cold Spring and Patterson are ideal candidates for this type of downtown destination. Zoning would need to change, as well as adopting business friendly sign ordinances for these areas. These communities would also need improvement of traffic flow, parking and pedestrian friendliness.
This agenda takes leadership, courage and vision. I feel our County Executive is on the right track but we need to help sustain the momentum. We need to stay focused and hold our elected officials and other leaders accountable, and keep moving forward!
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”