Lets not put our eggs in one basket
By JIM GREIER
I am 71 years old and have had the wonderful opportunity to live through a complete changeover in country life. When I was a boy on my grandparents farm, a team of horses and a stationary gasoline engine were the only sources of power.
A typical farmer milked approximately 20 cows and made a living. Farmers helped each other with haying, cutting corn and threshing oats in the summer and filling icehouses in the winter. Horse and buggy and Tin Lizzie cars were the mode of transportation back then and time seemed to stand still. The horses gave way to the modern-day tractors, the Tin Lizzies are much improved and the small farms merged into larger farm enterprises. Most of the rural towns in Sullivan County had to pass Right to Farm laws to protect the lifestyle of our farmers.
Which brings us to where we are today.
The local natives are now in the same position as the Native Americans were when we came to these lands. We need the city folks to buy into our community and spur the economy. Consequently, we need to have a meeting of the minds so we can share our ideas and opinions and settle our differences so we all can co-exist.
A few of the larger farms are left, and developers, who subdivide the land into smaller lot sizes for home sites, are buying up the rest. Many of these lots are being sold as second home sites for folks from the metropolitan areas. They come here for the quiet and serene lifestyle that we have enjoyed all our lives.
We do the best we can to welcome them and teach them country ways, but unfortunately it often seems that after they have been here for a while, they miss their old metro lifestyle and try to change the country into a more urban community.
Sullivan County is just now recovering from the failure of its hotel industry. We made the hotel industry our primary business source and didnt diversify with light manufacturing, etc., and when the hotels failed, so did our economy.
The casino issue is something that we must really focus on now. Let us not make the same mistake again with the casinos and put all our eggs in one basket and try to make gambling our big economic savior. Slow and steady controlled growth is working for usnow let us keep the ball rolling. Hey, the Racino is falling way short of its expectations. Let us learn from our experiences.
I envision the western rural end of Sullivan County capitalizing on the second home industry, diversified agriculture and natural open-air recreation on our beautiful rivers, lakes and mountains.
Looking back, I see that the past and present generations have been pretty good stewards of our lands and waters. Lets keep it that way!
[Jim Greier is the supervisor of the Town of Fremont.]
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