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As we look forward to the first days of spring, early signs point to the true beginning of Sullivan County’s Economic resurgence. Construction is moving vigorously ahead at the Montreign Casino site as workers ramp up heavy construction for the next two years.
EPR Properties is busy preparing sites on the rest of its 1,700 acres of land to attract additional projects. Along with the slated Hotel Water Park project, preparations are ongoing for unique destination and family oriented entertainment venues throughout targeted areas on the site. In addition, Catskill Regional Medical Center is proceeding with its plan for an Urgent/Primary Care facility on the corner of Route 42 and Concord road on approximately 14 acres of the EPR Properties.
Veria Lifestyle management has been working straight through the winter months to stay on track with their Veria Lifestyle Wellness Resort Spa project, and a growing mid-sized hotel (90-150 keys) development market is beginning to take shape as well.
Expect traditional hotel chains arising along our more heavily trafficked corridors.
The Sullivan County Job fair revealed new enthusiasm both from employers and job applicants. It was hosted by Workforce Development and the NYS Department of Labor, where nearly 50 existing companies recruited potential employees from a jam packed Monticello Fire House.
Workforce Development officials stated they had not conducted a mid-winter job fair in almost a decade as demand did not warrant it, until now. Unemployment continues to drop with data reflecting approximately a 3% drop in average annual unemployment in the past three years.
Our long-term view continues to seek hospitality and tourist based businesses building upon the current and projected development activity while working to diversify our attraction efforts as a balancing mechanism moving forward.
The development of shovel-ready sites and a dedicated effort toward attracting light industry and wholesale businesses will be a priority. We are looking to share some good news on that front as we are closer to announcing the attraction of a new manufacturing facility to Sullivan County, introducing us to an industry sector which holds much promise in the future.
In addition, our food, beverage and agribusiness sector continues to grow with much more interest in support of major expansions taking place now and slated for the future.
With increased development we are faced with new challenges. New, expanding and increased development requires updated and expanded infrastructure. Already, we can anticipate experiencing pressure on energy, sewer/water, broadband and other services that are critical to the growth we need to exploit in order to lengthen the positive effect the economic catalysts currently under construction have provided for us. A lack of retail, new housing options, and other service-oriented businesses has created a vacuum soon to be filled by those who will take advantage of the market place. Growth is certain to come and we must ensure we are ready to handle it accordingly.
Finally, our membership remains strong, committed and growing as participation and investment in the Partnership is providing value and directly affecting the bottom line of our participating businesses. Our message is clear.
By continuing to create opportunities for our membership we work to boost the chances for success and create a dynamic business environment that spurs economic development for all who reside and do business in Sullivan County. With the busy season fast approaching, stay tuned to announcements, special events and communiqués highlighting these and other economic development activities as they evolve.
President, Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development