By Ashley Tarr
More than half a dozen projects — some of which are “shovel-ready” — across Putnam County are currently being negotiated.
That’s the message Burt Houseworth, CEO of the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency, and other local officials delivered during a press conference in Brewster Monday morning. They ran through a list of upcoming projects — from a long-awaited hotel to a few new shopping centers to Silarx Pharmaceuticals’ expansion from Rockland into Putnam — and stressed that brighter times are be ahead.
Houseworth also mentioned a greenhouse farm that would be open year-round, and something known as the Paladin project. The latter would bring a training facility for thousands of emergecny responders who are located within an hour’s commute of Carmel. The company specializes in homeland security.
All in all, officials say the projects would call for more than 3,000 jobs — many of which carry projected annual salaries of $50,000 or higher.
According to State Sen. Greg Ball (R, C — Patterson), business owners are willing to invest and take up in the area. He said that the private sector has the potential to create long-lasting jobs.
Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt said that Putnam County is “where the beacon of light is shining,” and County Executive Paul Eldridge called the area “the secret of the Hudson Valley.”
Later in the press conference, Kevin Bailey, president of the Putnam Economic Development Corp., cautioned folks that no contracts have been signed for any of the projects discussed.
“This is not going to happen overnight, it’s not going to happen all this year” he said, adding that most of the initiatives have been approved and all of them “are real.”
When asked about a timeline for the projects, Houseworth said it all depends on how quickly venture capital can be raised. He called on elected officials at the state level to secure funds that would allow him to underwrite bonds.
“I am personally convinced that if we get Paladin going, the hotel will go and that will open the floodgates,” Houseworth said.
Ball’s staff said that the state senator “looks forward to working with all levels of government to create the right business environment for growth and job creation to help put New Yorkers back to work.” He also said he plans to contintue collaborations with local officials to create a “‘red carpet’ mentality for small business owners, investors and entrepreneurs” in the area.
“On a daily basis we are constantly shepherding businesses through the grant and budget processes to secure capital and other dollars, including making these local, shovel ready projects a priority in the Governor’s regional economic development pipeline,” Ball said in a statement. “The good news is that many of these businesses are simply asking goverment to assist by being cooperative and keeping excessive hurdles, regulations, fees and taxes at bay. Exactly why my efforts to repeal the MTA payroll tax and cut property taxes will continue.”