Consultant Josh Sommers, speaking at the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce business breakfast meeting at Diamond Mills for the three developers of the Winston Farm, predicted the development would create hundreds of good new jobs, much-needed housing and entertainment centers. Sommers emphasized that the community would have opportunities to influence the development and create a development that truly enhances Saugerties.
“The Winston Farm development is a great economic opportunity for Saugerties, Ulster County and the region,” said Sommers at the meeting. “We know that this site is very special. There’s a lot of history here, and great care has to be used, but it is a very prime site to do positive economic development.”
“The developers are not saying, here’s what we’re doing,” Sommers said. “We’re asking the community, what do you want to see, how can we meet the needs of Ulster County? At Winston Farm, you can create an economic engine that can create hundreds of jobs and raise millions of dollars in positive development.”
The site’s proximity to the Thruway, Albany and New York City makes Winston Farm a prime location for economic development.
Sommers said that most of the people at the breakfast know John Mullen, Randy Richers and Anthony Montano, and he has also come to know them over the past few months, He said he was impressed by their dedication to the community.
Some issues have been identified through discussion with local people, such as environmental soundness, protection of the aquifer, preservation of open space and forested land, and job opportunities with livable wages. Sommers said he has heard the sledding hill, which is important to the community, will be preserved. That comment drew applause from the audience.
Sommers ticked off some of the steps that the development must go through, including environmental review of the overall plan and the specific businesses that will locate there, plus a plan for an additional water supply source for the Village of Saugerties. A scoping document — setting parameters for the studies that will be done — will give residents a chance to express their concerns.
Sommers said he was impressed by the fact that the developers wanted to hear more from the community before introducing final plans.