Friday, August 17, 2007

Time stands still

It's unlikely Rip Van Winkle would get culture shock if he awakened from two decades of slumber around here.

Oh, sure, he'd see new shops here and there. He'd venture to the town of Ulster and find a new plaza and a couple of new motels. There's be this in New Paltz and that in Saugerties. It's not like nothing has happened. But face it, the streetscape is pretty much as the last generation (and the generation before them) left it.

People are trying. I mean, how many years ago ago did we start reading about the proposed condos along the Hudson, the high-rise in Uptown, the resort near Belleayre and a variety of other interesting entrepreneurial enterprises that haven't yet materialized?

No news is good news for those who want this area to be the place where time stood still. It's its charm, they'll say.

No news is bad news for those who realize the economy needs a few jolts for the good of employees and employers alike.

Sometimes I feel like we're mired in quicksand, our outstretched arms grabbed securely enough so that we won't vanish, but without enough oomph to get us back on our feet.

Development doesn't have to be a dirty word. We don't have to transform our lovely community into a traffic-clogged, patchwork quilt of neon and concrete. We're not Long Island North.

But if we don't improve the tax base, the burden on all of us will grow and the area will wheeze along. Is that really how we want to live?
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