Well The Olive Press has made it through its first year, and
we’ve been having a pretty good time doing it. We’re
grateful for the enormously positive response we get from
so many readers, and we like to think we’ve made a difference
in the quality of the local news you’re getting. Like
most of you, we wish the news were better a lot of the time.
If we made it up, it would be, and we do think about that,
briefly, once in a while. But so far we’ve managed to
control ourselves and only report things that have actually
happened, or soon will. We are however, still looking for
a stringer to cover events happening under the reservoir.
In our very first issue, we told you our agenda was about
building community, and we think we’ve been pretty successful
doing that. A community isn’t a bunch of people who
happen to live near each other. It’s a place where people
understand that part of their lives is a partnership with
others who share all the positive things that give them reason
to be where they are, and whatever problems are also their
neighbor’s problems. We’ve frequently heard comments
to the effect that many folks barely realized Olive was actually
its own town before the paper came along. While there is a
certain humor to that, it does tell us that something very
much like what we’re doing was overdue.
Looking back, the year now behind us was a fair to middlin’
one for Olive. The ridiculous struggle with the City over
the reservoir assessment goes on, and we’re hopeful
that the coming year will see a real change of attitude on
the City’s part and a reasonable resolution to the issue.
The politics of the school district however will catch up
with us, and the large parcel bill will almost assuredly be
adopted for the coming year and will raise our school taxes
probably 50-55 percent. We did catch a break by having it
hold off for ’03 but that was a brief reprieve. While
it’s true that even with the increase we’ll still
be paying less in total taxes than our neighboring towns do,
that’s scant consolation to those for whom the hardship
will be real enough.
In general town business has been running pretty well. We
had a good election for the town and we think a very good
one for the county. We now have a county legislature where
the Republicans and the Democrats will actually have to talk
to each other and work together for the first time in a generation.
We think that will likely serve all of us well.
Regionally there’s a lot going on that we do need to
keep track of in Olive, much of it not far from the town’s
borders. The three casinos planned for southern Ulster and
Sullivan counties will be bringing a projected 70,000 cars
a day to our region, and most the traffic from points north
and east of us would be getting off the thruway at Kingston
and coming through Olive on route 209. We have a hard time
picturing this, and we think a lot of folks south of the reservoir
will too. The time frame could be as close as three or four
Then there’s Crossroads Ventures Belleayre Resort project
planned for neighboring Shandaken. This is the largest development
ever proposed for the region, and for most people the only
way to get there is right through Olive on Route 28. This
is no modest proposal, and there’s hardly anything that
isn’t big about it: New construction equivalent to ten
Wal-Mart complexes like the one in Kingston. About 1,300 hotel
and time-share rooms, parking for over 2000 cars, and so on.
The developer’s studies indicate that traffic through
Olive won’t increase by more than one car every 11 seconds,
but we’re not so sure they’re right. We think
that on the scale the resort’s been proposed, Route
28 would have a four-lane future through Olive, and we think
that’s something Olive needs to know more about it than
it does now.
The Crossroads project has now entered the “Public Comment”
phase of its state-run review process, and only two public
hearings will be held on it, January 14 in Margaretville and
January 15 in Boiceville at the high school auditorium. These
aren’t question and answer sessions but they are the
only chance anyone will ever have to say a word about what’s
being proposed. The hearings in Boiceville will run from 4:00
to 5:30 PM and will reconvene at 7:00PM on Thursday, Jan 15.
We strongly urge people to be there and to speak, whatever
their views, and we hope Olive will really come out for this.
We also hope you’re happy with the job we’ve been
doing this past year. The Olive Press is really a community
project, and we’re always open to and appreciative of
your ideas and suggestions. We’ve chosen to make this
newspaper work through a business model that’s entirely
advertiser-supported, and we’re tremendously grateful
to all the local business that help make it possible. At the
same time we’re grateful to all of you, who’ve
proven to those businesses that advertising with us makes
a whole lot of sense. So we just want to say thanks to everyone
for thinking locally and for buying locally, because the way
we see it, both are working for everyone in our community.
We hope you all had a warm, fuzzy, and safe New Year.