LAKE PLACID Democratic Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand was in town last week to talk about the regions economy.
Gillibrand hosted a town hall meeting on economic development on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Lake Placid Beach House. Several local experts spoke on the challenges to the regions economy, before Gillibrand opened the floor to questions.
Gillibrand called Lake Placid one of the shining stars of the region for economic development.
The issues experts brought up were familiar to many: the need for further tourism development, workforce housing, staffing shortages, infrastructure, passport requirement problems, the need to balance environmental protection with growth, and property taxes.
Lake Placid resident Andy Walken suggested that the region examine other areas, like White Plains, that have large office facilities as a model. He was critical of bringing industry into the area that paid living wages.
Im scared to death when I hear development it brings in jobs that dont pay people anything, said Walken. Lets preserve our environment. Lets stop building resorts. When we think about our citizens, lets start thinking about good jobs.
Panelist Ernest Holmeyer, a local businessman, said the lack of infrastructure would likely make bringing in a large cooperative headquarters difficult, along with lack of employee base.
Naj Wikoff of Keene Valley felt that looking to the arts was a good idea for economic development. He was concerned that the area was starting to turn into a gated community, and needed to draw more youth.
The arts can be a key to draw more young people, said Wikoff.
Gillibrand agreed, citing the fact that arts helped regions foster a higher quality of life.
Local resident Tracy Lamb said one of the keys was getting an airport in. Without having an easily accessible airport, its difficult for business travel.
We need your support with the airport we need to help whats going on in Plattsburgh, said Lamb.