CHESTERTOWN — Local municipal leaders will soon be exploring ways to boost local commerce, encourage new industry and create jobs — and to launch this effort, they are now seeking public involvement.
The town of Chester is holding a community meeting from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday April 27 to seek such input. Since light refreshments are to be served, RSVPs by April 21 to firstname.lastname@example.org are encouraged, but not mandated.
Chester Town Supervisor Craig Leggett said all citizens are welcome to attend and become involved.
“We’ll be talking about ideas, identifying immediate barriers to economic vitality and considering what initiatives our municipality or community organizations can handle, as we strategize a coordinated effort toward common goals,” he said.
He said that specific economic development projects could be tackled either by local government or by community organizations like the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance or the North Warren Chamber of Commerce.
In recent years, the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance has launched a series of new events as well as establishing the Chestertown Farmers’ Market, all of which have brought hundreds of people into town on a recurring basis. Leggett said this new initiative was intended to dovetail with the existing accomplishments of the Business Alliance.
“Through their events, the Business Alliance has rallied community support, investing a huge amount of volunteer effort, and they’ve made the community a far more attractive place to live,” he said. “Now, we’re looking toward what our municipality can spearhead that helps with this community effort.”
Leggett said the economic development projects could relate to housing, tourism, and recreation, as well as boosting commerce and industry.
Likely to be considered are infrastructure needs, including increasing water distribution and quality, as well establishing a downtown sewer system.
Years ago, the Alliance sought to have a small-scale sewer system developed in the core of Chestertown to accommodate commercial development.
Leggett said new recreational venues could be developed — perhaps biking, hiking, skiing and snowmobiling trails. Also, interconnecting such trails between area towns has been envisioned as a boost to local commerce throughout the Adirondacks, he said. A hamlet-to-hamlet hiking trail, he said, would encourage people to explore Chestertown or Pottersville, Leggett said.
Another possibility is linking into a cultural trail — highlighting historically significant sites or a microbrewery trail, he continued.
“We need to discuss the aspects of our community we value, and discuss what we’re going to do to create a community that exhibits those values,” he said. “It’s a matter of focusing on who we are and what we do — and where we want to go from here.”
Among those to be participating in the meeting are Ed Bartholomew of EDC Warren County, Adirondack Park Agency Economic Development Services Director Dan Kelleher, and state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann.
“It’s an ambitious afternoon,” Leggett concluded.