Continuing suburban sprawl not in our best interests.
The New Hartford Business Park could become a case study in how not to promote growth and development.This editorial "gets it." All we do in this region in the name of "growth" and "development" is "rearrange the deck chairs" shifting economic activity from the city and villages to the suburbs and one suburban location to another while the regional "ship" sinks, losing business, jobs and people to other parts of the country.
It is simply shifting local jobs to a new location, not adding jobs to our region.
From "Observer Dispatch" and NH Planning Board Chairman Jerome Donovan . . . Guest's view: 840 business park access must be a Town Board priority in new year.
. . . we must work to fulfill the potential of the vision we as a town have invested in for nearly two decades. And we must do so using every economic development tool available in concert with private investment.This editorial does NOT "get it." I won't detail why the current business park was never the town's "vision," but, instead, refer interested readers to the 1999 Environmental Impact Statement for what was then proposed to be a town-owned industrial park. The vision then was entirely different from the vision now. This editorial shows how the regional vision has now been lost in the myopia of looking just at New Hartford.
The town board’s failure to take up the break-in-access resolution continues to unnecessarily delay:
- Development of the Business Park.
- Expansion and diversification our tax base.
- The easing of congestion at area intersections, including the infamous Jay-K intersection.
- Improving access to Middle Settlement Road from Park View Estates.
- The creation of new jobs which will strengthen the local economy and support retail sales which generate critically important revenues for the town.
Why should "expansion" of the tax base be an objective of town government when it carries with it the responsibility of expanding and maintaining public infrastructure? With all of the expansion of tax base in New Hartford has come a need to tax residents even more. . . as its residents will discover when tax bills get opened in January. If town government isn't working for its residents, who is it working for?
While easing congestion increases convenience, isn't congestion what comes with a lot of economic activity? When the congestion along Genesee Street in Utica was relieved by the North-South Arterial in the 1960s, what followed? What happened to the economic activity that was there?
As indicated by the first editorial, hoped-for "new jobs" are an illusion and will come from someplace else in the local economy. . . Hold that thought for a moment.
The first editorial pointed out something else:
. . . The age of the automobile led to the spread of growth into suburban communities . . .While the automobile changed what is "local," our government which was organized on a pre-automobile concept of "local" has not changed. The result has been (not only here, but elsewhere in New York State) suburbs and the cities they economically depend upon making policy decisions that hurt the city-suburban region as a whole. In Upstate, we have what has been documented by the Brookings Institute as one of the worst cases of sprawl in the nation . . . sprawl without growth in population . . . The result is extremely high levels of taxation which drive more people away and create a need for even higher taxes.
New Hartford, Whitestown, and Utica being separate jurisdictions makes about as much sense as east and west Utica being separately governed. If there was a Municipality of Greater Utica instead, somehow I think we would still have an apple orchard in New Hartford . . . or a business park there reserved for manufacturing.