Economic trends favor urban centers with a high concentration of talent, like New York City. How can places in their orbit, like the upper Hudson Valley, benefit?
The George Washington School on Wall Street in Kingston was the venue last Friday evening and Saturday for what its organizers termed an unconference. An audience of 200 showed up for “Surviving the Future: Connection and Community in Unstable Times,” billed as both a summit and a progress report on the sustained efforts of the past few years to organize radical political, economic and cultural consciousness-raising in and around Kingston.
Banking variety remains alive and well in Ulster County. What most local people don’t seem to realize is that the same can’t be said of most places in this country.
With the new Office of Economic Development, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan wants to emphasize the importance of a new separate department and other measures to support his initiative “to grow and diversify our economy for all.” How well it will succeed will depend on the smarts, skills and inspiration breathed into it by its participants.
Some big dreams of urban revitalization are more easily realized than others. When it comes to schemes for the Rondout neighborhood of Kingston, Rob Iannucci’s dreams have been 15 years in the hatching. Some people who shared his dreams have become disillusioned. Patience has been required. That patience may yet pay off.
Ulster County executive Pat Ryan believes “the traditional approach to economic development alone will not drive the county’s success for the future.” To that end, last month he formed a working group called Ulster 2040 of what he termed “county business movers and shakers.” That diverse twelve-person group was given nine months to come up with a plan “to align our county with our natural, economic and social strengths, and to make the necessary investments to be successful in these key areas.” Easier said than done.
The all-day conference on migration and mental health at SUNY New Paltz this Friday, October 11, is coming at an opportune time. Though American history records several eras when conflict raged over immigrants and immigration, there have been few more virulent than what’s going on now.
The Ulster County-built Ashokan Rail-Trail, a long-awaited public recreational walkway (the county prefers the term “shared-use path”), will be opened to the public on Friday, October 18. First proposed in 2012, the 11.5-mile trail is ten to twelve feet in width, with a compacted crushed-stone surface that allows accessibility to persons with disabilities and limited mobility.
“Legislator [Hector] Rodriguez violated the public trust, violated women, and is unfit for public service,” wrote Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan upon receipt last Friday of an independent investigative report from a partner in an Albany law firm addressed to county personnel officer Sheree Cross. Rodriguez’s disturbing actions constituted a gross violation of the public trust, Ryan wrote. Had they involved any member of his administration, they would have led to summary dismissal.
Newly released bank data for Ulster County shows that the trend toward larger percentage gains in deposits for local and small regional banks than for the national banks is continuing.