I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made this blog such a vibrant forum about Sullivan County. Its been exciting to see participation grow throughout the year, and the heartfelt opinions and emotions expressed here.
I feel that 2007 is going to be a great year for Sullivan County, and a tipping point in our redevelopment. All signs are pointing towards final approval for a casino at the Monticello Raceway early in the year, which could lead to shovels in the ground as early as next summer. Whether you’re pro or anti-casino, its a huge step for the county. Final approval for Capelli’s ambitious redevelopment of the Concord is also expected in the first quarter, with construction also expected to start by summer. Expectations are running high that Capelli will also announce that the first phase spa hotel will carry the Ritz Carlton name.
Hopefully the dam repair at Swinging Bridge, the jewel of Sullivan County’s lakes, will be finished and the lake will be refilled by summer. We’e been without Swinging Bridge for two seasons now, and its a huge recreational draw.
Bethel Woods will be hosting its second season, and we’re all eagerly awaiting the lineup. Rumors have been swirling around here for months about some major announcements from Bethel Woods in the New Year. We’ll just have to wait and see. If both the casino and the new Concord break ground, that could be the impetus for the Gerry Foundation to roll out Phase II for Bethel Woods.
On a less high profile and glamorous note, government officials are working together to solve the flooding issues that have affected many parts of Sullivan County. 2007 could finally see a comprehensive plan to deal with our rivers and that could be a real boon to our northern hamlets, Roscoe and Livingston Manor.
2007 could also be the year we start taking land use planning and conservation seriously. This year many of our townships were broadsided by dozens of development proposals, many of which technically fit within outdated planning rules originally designed for minor subdivisions or cutting off a piece of land here and there. Throughout the county, townships are reviewing comprehensive plans and are starting to look at more progressive approaches to land use and development.
In 2007, hopefully the death knell will be sounded for the NYRI (New York Regional Interconnect) powerline project. The spectre of this project is casting a dark shadow over wide swaths of land in the western part of the county, and it needs to be put to rest once and for all.
On the real estate side, I hope we can settle down into a predictable market early in 2007. The last 6 months of 2006 have been marked by uncertainty and caution on the buyer side, and continuing La-La land unreality on the seller side. Market transitions are always tough, as buyers and sellers adjust to new dynamics, and the last 6 months have been no exception.
Overall, I’m very optimistic for 2007 and think it will be a very happy New Year for Sullivan County.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all.