For people outside the town of Johnsburg, last week's announcement of the Copperfield Inn purchase was probably just an interesting bit of local news. But for those of us who live (and make a living) here - the announcement served as a symbolic gesture toward a hopeful future for our community.
For some reason, the town of Johnsburg, or more specifically the hamlet of North Creek, seems to run contrary to many of the economic issues facing our region. By saying that, I am certainly not suggesting that we are prospering by any stretch of the imagination. My point is that the sheer potential we have is illustrated by the infrastructure and quiet positioning that is gradually falling into place.
In a talk with Supervisor Goodspeed last week, he listed more than 15 businesses in the town that have opened, expanded, or are anticipated to open by the end of this year. A trip to the Gore Chamber of Commerce office provided even more detail and some entities that neither of us thought of. It's a familiar story for our small community - we seem to take our lumps just like everybody else but somehow we keep moving forward.
By contrast, I was saddened to learn this week that the Indian Lake Market is contemplating closing for the winter in response to declining sales figures over the last few months. Without a doubt, that must be an incredibly hard decision to make, and many of us can empathize with their situation.
This announcement makes it clear that what we are seeing on the evening news every night is starting to hit-home on a regional level. From New York State's deficit projections, to Warren County's budget shortfalls, and all the way down to the bankruptcy of Lincoln Logs in Chestertown, we are starting to feel the pressure that accompanies a period of economic contraction.
So is North Creek special in some way? Well, in my view, yes and no. We are as special as every other community in the Adirondacks who counts on the wisdom and caring of its residents to guide it forward. But the critical difference in North Creek lies in its assets - both natural and man-made. From its development as one of the premier east coast downhill ski destinations, to the recreation offered by the mighty Hudson River, a world-class garnet mining operation, and everything in between - we are fortunate to have the opportunity to react to the changes in the world instead of being driven by them.
Someone made the comment to me this week that communities are a lot like businesses - if they don't grow then they run the risk of stagnating or in extreme cases, even dying. Unfortunately for small Adirondack towns like ours, we do not have to look far for examples of both.
I have a feeling that 2009 will be a pivotal year in our history. Our country will have a new leader, our financial affairs will experience a dramatic restructuring, and North Creek will quietly keep plugging along.
While many of us have lost faith in what is happening beyond the boundaries of the blue line - at least we have something happening at home that we can believe in.
Brett Hagadorn is editor of the North Creek News Enterprise. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org