The Town of Highland through a crystal ball
By ALLAN SCHADT
Two years ago I did an article for The River Reporter. It was entitled Highland: A great place to live. In that article I spoke about the coming of casinos, Bethel Wood, the Mountain Laurel Performing Arts Center, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and the proposed change of Route 17 to Interstate 86. As all of you know, nothing has changed. We are still talking about these same things.
Casinos are still being politically motivated. Alan Gerrys project, Mountain Laurel, and Route 17 are all being worked on and the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway has been approved but hasnt been utilized to its fullest yet.
The big question is, with all these projects in the works, is the Town of Highland ready for the growth that will surely go along with each and every one of these projects? The answer is yes. We have had enough time to go through each and every town law, town ordinance, town zoning and the towns Master Plan. We had public hearings on each topic and listened to the comments, concerns and statements made by you, the residents. We added those concerns where they were applicable and as each of the departments in the town are using these documents and finding that some sections arent workable, we are amending them.
Even with all these things only being talked about, the Town of Highland has seen growth. This is because people no longer feel safe in the city and suburbs and are moving out to the country. In most cases, they are commuting two or more hours to work each day. We are also seeing more people moving from Orange and Ulster County because of the growth those two counties are experiencing. Added to that, computers and networking are affording more people the opportunity to stay at home and work from there.
When casinos finally happen and Alan Gerrys project is finally finished, people will come from Pennsylvania or use the scenic byway. These people will see that the Town of Highland offers some of the best restaurants in Sullivan County. They will see that they can enjoy the outdoors by going swimming, shooting the rapids on the Upper Delaware River, or taking a walk on 3,000 acres of state owned land. They will be able to visit some of our historic sites such as the Minisink Battleground or the Roebling Bridge. They will find they can see a show at the NaCL Theater in Highland Lake and they will see that the town has two of the biggest parades in Sullivan County the Saint Patricks Day Parade and the VonSteuben Day Parade.
Whatever the reason that people come to the Town of Highland, whether it is to live, or only to visit, the town will advance into the future and we will continue to meet all the challenges that growth will bring.
[Allan Schadt is currently the Supervisor of the Town of Highland.]
This biweekly feature is part of the Visioning the Upper Delaware Initiative which encourages citizens to have an active role in the future of the Upper Delaware River Corridor. For a complete archive of visioning statements or to find out more about the initiative, go to upperdelaware.com .]