Elizabethtown has a history of economic ups and downs. Some people remember the restaurants and motels that once lined Route 9 before I-87, the Northway was built. Others remember the big hotels that were filled with summer tourists. But over the years, Elizabethtown’s economy has changed dramatically. We are now a government center, providing services to people from all over the region. Monday through Friday more than 700 people a day come into Elizabethtown to work. We need them to spend their money here, get their cars repaired, play a round of golf and even consider buy a home and moving here.
In the past decade Elizabethtown has lost more residents (11.5-percent) than any other Essex County town. We’ve also lost several small businesses, and our school population has dropped 25-percent. Less people mean fewer shoppers, taxpayers and workers. What can we do to re-energize Elizabethtown and bring people back to our town? We need people to buy and remodel older homes, join our churches, and volunteer in our fire department. We need new businesses, a laundromat, a car wash, more shops, more restaurants and affordable office space. Several people have spoken to me about constructing new buildings or upgrading old ones, but these projects are held back by our lack of a sewer system.
Waste Water treatment plant
In 2007 Elizabethtown received a grant for 1 million dollars to pay for the planning and design of a waste-water treatment plant. That grant will expire on December 21, 2012. To date 75-percent of the grant has been spent preparing for a “green, eco friendly” system, located behind the golf course maintenance shed. The last part of the plan is getting the necessary easements from property owners. This work must be done in the next few months in order for the project to become shovel ready.
Most of the construction costs for the sewer will to be paid for with Federal and State money. This is the only way the sewer system can be made affordable for the residents. But the town can not apply for grant money unless ALL the plans are complete.
In March residents, businesses and landowners who own property in the Sewer District will receive information about signing easements, so the last part of the plan can be completed. Once the easements are received, Elizabethtown will be in the front of the line for future funding.
We are now partnering with Essex County, the largest customer of our waste-water system, to obtain Federal and State money for the project. I have already met with Congressman Owens and Assemblywoman Sayward. In March, Chairman Douglas and I will meet Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in Washington to push for help with this project
Elizabethtown has been our hometown for 214 years, since it was founded in 1798. It is our duty and responsibility to see that our town prospers in the coming years. The future of Elizabethtown is now in our hands. I appreciate your help, your ideas and your cooperation in making this project a success.