Communities face similar challenges, Pattern officials tell chamber

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Drapkin – Three reports in the
next two months

TOWN OF WALLKILL – Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress’s Jonathan Drapkin and March Gallagher addressed Orange County’s Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning about the county’s economy. As part of Pattern’s 50th anniversary, they are traveling around the Hudson Valley to meet with the local business communities and discuss upcoming Pattern’s studies, as well as to share ideas.
“There are a lot of communities that share similar issues,” said Gallagher.  “How do you finance infrastructure? What’s the best way to do waterfront development? How do we attract and retain millennials? Do we have a brand for our city, town village? So, it’s those types of activities.”
The presentation was divided into the categories of the New Tappan Zee Bridge, Stewart Airport, small infrastructure, student debt, school taxes and urban center focus.         
Gallagher and Drapkin said there has been a large, unseen economic impact on the county from the Tappan Zee Bridge in the form of barge building and material transport. Stewart Airport has seen a drop in commercial air travel from approximately one million travelers to 250,000 over the last decade. School enrollments are decreasing but, school closures are increasing. The population is aging and the younger generation prefers to inhabit urban centers.
Those are a few of the myriad of points Gallagher and Drapkin made regarding county’s current economy.  So, Pattern is conducting a number of studies over the coming months to address these points.
“There will be three reports that will be released over the next two months,” said Drapkin. “One will be on the urban centers and demographics; one will be on school districts and career readiness; and the third one will be on housing and how it impacts six cities in particular.”
Of the six cities in the urban centers study, three will be Newburgh, Middletown and Port Jervis.
Drapkin and Gallagher are predicting with the influx of visitation to the county resulting from the Montreign Casino when it comes to Sullivan, and the long list of infrastructure projects the county is involved with along and urban renewal projects, the county’s future is looking bright.