My list of visions
By Dr. MARTIN HANDLER
When I was asked to write about my vision for this area, I really struggled with how to proceed. A vision for the future is something you know, but it is sometimes difficult to express. I finally decided to keep it simple, usually a good thing, and make a list. So with apologies to David Letterman, here are my top ten things that I would like to see for Sullivan County in my vision for its future.
10. A reasonable solution to the gaming issue. I believe that casino gaming can be an important element to the economic redevelopment of the area. However, it should not be the overriding factor in that redevelopment. We have to remain a multifaceted destination for visitors not a gambling mecca.
9. The continued revitalization of the tourist industry. Sullivan County has been and will always be a tourist destination. We found out that the tourist industry should not be the only focus of our economy. Now we have the opportunity to see the rebirth of tourism in the county and it will be exciting to have a new generation of visitors share the beauty of our area.
8. A renewed cooperation among all of the county government agencies to deliver to our residents services of the highest quality at the lowest cost possible. Every effort to consolidate services and even governmental entities themselves should be examined.
7. A transportation system in the county that allows every resident to get to their job, to health care and to other services without the need for their own private vehicles.
6. The growth and strengthening of our healthcare services. The Catskill Regional Medical Center is a critical element in the quality of life in our county.
5. The responsible development of affordable housing for both the current and future workforce. There is and will continue to be a critical need for moderate cost housing. The development of this housing must be well planned with the impact of services taken into account.
4. A coordinated workforce development effort involving the center for Workforce Development, the Sullivan County Community College, the Sullivan County BOCES Adult Education Program and the other training providers. The economic redevelopment that we will experience will require an expanded and increasingly more skilled workforce.
3. A willingness on the part of the residents of the county to accept that commercial and industrial growth is needed here if the economy is going to support the residential growth that we will surely experience. The efforts of the Partnership for Economic development and the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce must be supported as they attempt to attract taxpaying businesses to our county.
2. A strong education system. This must involve a true partnership between our school districts, our private schools, the BOCES and a strong Sullivan County Community College to provide our children and adults the educational opportunities that are needed to be successful.
1. Finally, the number one item on my vision list is a county plan that will protect our greatest resource, the beautiful landscape of Sullivan County. Our open spaces are what make our area special and they must be allowed to remain.
[ Dr. Martin D. Handler is district superintendent at the Sullivan County Board of Cooperative Educational Services. He can be reached at 845/292-0082 ext. 115 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org ]
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