Message from the Executive Director
How does economic development success add up?
We need to look at where we have been, where we are and where we are going to figure that out.
First, where have we been? What a long way we have come since 2009 when in the county there was hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant space, high unemployment and an uncertain future. Would Warren Street’s revitalization survive, would the manufacturing in the County remain and would home grown businesses, that we all so covet, survive? Through dedicated hard work of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) and using methods that sometimes challenge traditional strategies of economic development, CEDC has helped bring the county’s economy and job market back stronger and more diverse than before the great recession.
We started with singles and doubles:
- Secured American Recovery Bonds for BAC Sales/Hudson River Stove’s rebuild and expansion;
- Secured $6 million in tax exempt bonds for the first phase of Camphill Ghent; and
- Approval of several small business loans to such companies as J.E.M. Woodworking in Ghent; Crossroads Restaurant in Hillsdale and Country Squire in Hudson.
Then triples and home runs:
- Eurial dba Couturier and operating the Livingston Facility as Hudson Valley Creamery invested millions of dollars establishing a goat cheese production plant;
- Flanders…275 jobs and now leasing 30,000 square feet off site in addition to the 295,000 square feet they purchased on Route 9;
- CEDC continues to support Ginsberg’s in their efforts to solve their business expansion needs; and
- Catamount project which CEDC secured $1.2 million for a new sewage treatment for the time share units.
And most recently:
- Provided $657,500 in loans to 17 Columbia County businesses whose types range from a minority owned sole proprietorship in Hudson to a major dairy farm in Ancram;
- Provided help such as accounting and marketing advise to about 30 small business owners;
- Implemented a study to determine how to jump start the dairy goat industry to support of our goat cheese production facility; and
- Working with 10 local economic development committees to help coordinate strategies.
Looking back on the whirlwind of activity, it is appropriate to say that much has been accomplished. Yet the expectations and stakes remain high and much opportunity lies ahead. As a result, in the coming year, I will:
- Collaborate with the City of Hudson on projects including providing support in their efforts to develop the waterfront;
- Continue to lead the charge to improve broadband in the county;
- Continue to work with local economic development committees and hold meetings so that ideas and strategies may be shared;
- Work with landowners to make their land attractive for commercial development;
- Provide support and financing for the small business owners and entrepreneurs;
- Continue CEDC’s support for the agricultural industry; and
- Continue to work with Jim Campion, President of Columbia-Greene Community College as well as the Workforce Investment Board
We all have the same objective: To create an environment that provides quality job opportunities for our residents. How we do this has several answers. That is why for success to be achieved we must all work together.
Thank you for your continued support.
Kenneth J. Flood