Memorial Day: A Mixed Blessing Of A Holiday
It's Memorial Day. We've had enough rain in the last few days to give everything a jungle-like splendor and we've just made it through annual school budget and board elections without too much heartache — forgetting the ballot mishap that had us all scurrying here to correct wrong tallies and declare real winners past deadline last week.
Overall things are looking pretty good for the months to come.
Sure, there's a lot of stasis around, from a news perspective.
There was a great deal of inroads made with the "purchase" of the Nevele Resort in recent months. But now there'll be a seemingly interminable wait as the state figures out, through a host of Byzantine legislative and other democratic means, whether they want gambling or not. And the holder of the mortgage on the beleaguered old hotel and its property plays out its cards.
How long will it take all this to play out and reach a point of completion? The developer who bought the Nevele gave us all five years. Then again, another resort owner/developer in the area declared bankruptcy a while back and hasn't closed yet. These things work on their own schedules, it appears.
Similarly, everyone's on edge up in Rosendale as the battles over Williams Lake continue, just as many are on their edges of their seats wondering how many towns will end up banning fracking in the long run up and down the Rondout Valley. Or whether it'll mean anything in the long run.
People are getting hopeful, and frightened, by the prospect of a Walmart outside Ellenville... long promised, yet again. There are movements, here and there, involving major developments... and threats of battles against such encroachment on the ways things have been for years.
New York City's getting ready to fix the leaking aqueduct... in about a decade.
On similar, more progressive fronts... we wonder whether the Transition Towns movement landed in Marbletown make a major difference? How about the cell towers that raise alarms, opposition, and keep getting okayed, on both sides of the Shawangunk Ridgeline? Can they ever stop? Or will we ever become truly embarrassed by the growing anti-Hasidim prejudices being voiced in several communities near Route 17, giving the region an increasingly nasty pallor?
In the end, it seems we have little choice but to just wait and see what transpires...
On a county level, there's a lot of attention being paid to the new battles that have been brewing between the Democratic County Executive and the Republican-controlled legislature. In particular, everyone's wondering when all the talk about reining in the legislative chairman gets real, and not just caught in the flighty "what if" rhetoric its been floating around in of late.
Much is being made, as we see in our Ulster County Dispatch this week, about all the optimism being heaped on and around a reconfigured Ulster County Development Corporation. In particular, we're enthused by word that there might finally be a company ready to move into the old Schrade Knife Company property in Ellenville... and similar moves are afoot elsewhere in Ulster County.
Sure, many still want to see the economy as a losing deal... for purely political reasons. Which will, in the long term, make us a bit nervous for the coming summer, heralded by this Memorial Day weekend now approaching.
But all in all, such doom and gloom talk in light of some actual bits of progress is better, in the long run, than what happened four years ago, when the party in power was refusing to acknowledge real signs of financial disaster all around us. Until things were too late.
It seems we've got a great weekend ahead of us. It'll have its moments of solemnity, but also plenty of time for good cheer... and a celebration of why it is we all live here in our towns, this region, our state, this country and these times.
Can we do better? Yes... and we will. Can we do worse? Hopefully not when we're all paying attention to what we're being promised, what we've already been through, and where we might yet end up... both good and bad.
Happy Memorial Day, one and all. For all reasons...