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Innovation is the route to our future

Editorial

Forty-four miles southeast, another example of ingenuity shows a lot of promise for remote Adirondack communities and their economic revival.

Broadband access — seen as crucial to tourism and economic development as well as local residents’ quality of life — has been regarded as economically unfeasible due to the burdensome cost of infrastructure needed to provide broadband for a meager population spread over mountainous terrain.

But in Thurman, town officials decided to shoulder some risks and innovate.

The town is partnering with a Chestertown-based entrepreneur to bring broadband to its 1,200 residents, most of whom rely on near-useless dial-up. The Thurman town board voted several weeks ago to commit $20,000 to testing cutting-edge “white space” technology which would broadcast data over unused frequencies traditionally reserved for analog television transmission.

The project, which has gained national attention, holds a promise of affordably connecting its citizens to the Internet, now seen as a virtual necessity of modern life.

While there’s a considerable amount that’s been accomplished in reviving our economies, more challenges lie ahead.

Most of our communities’ downtowns still host too many vacant buildings — idle primarily due to the high cost of heating and cooling as well as burdensome taxation.

While Chestertown is struggling with how to revive rows of empty storefronts, their town government is taking action on exploring ways of slashing the cost of heating its own facilities through the use of wood chips or pellets.Already, the town government has installed arrays of solar panels to provide electricity and cut its utility costs.

Such technologies could help efforts to revitalize our downtowns, experts have said.

All these examples demonstrate that innovative thinking can overcome the longstanding problems we face in the Adirondacks — and we at Denton Publications hail the practice.

Comments should be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com

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