July 16, 2008: No disrespect intended with flier

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To The Editor:
These comments are to Fleischmanns Mayor Kathleen Wilber, the village board and others who were offended by photographs in our recent mailing. We are all sorry anyone felt disrespected because no disrespect was intended.
The mayor correctly points out in her letter to the editor that some very positive improvements have taken place in the village. Many of us were present to congratulate Fleischmanns for its hard work when the Greater Margaretville Chamber of Commerce honored them in May.
The truth is, we had scores of photographs showing blight through the entire region. We picked out four and used them without realizing that three of the four used were from Fleischmanns. This was not sinister or intended. The newsletter did not identify the communities where the pictures were taken, nor did we mean to imply in any way that the only blight in this region is limited to any single community. Empty buildings for rent and for sale signs appear all over the area and more of that will be highlighted in the future.
Unfortunately, for all of the recent successes in Fleischmanns and elsewhere in the region, the deterioration in our area can not be denied. While we could have used pictures from other communities to show that the blight is wide-spread, we must point out that the pictures used were current and very real. While some buildings have had great improvements, many have not. We also believe that just making our buildings look nice won’t bring back the business our area has lost over the last half century. We need people to enjoy what we have to offer. We need shoppers on our Main Streets. We need young families to be able to earn a decent living here and an increased real estate tax base. This will bolster school enrollment, which has been declining for over a decade. We need the efforts that you and others are making to improve the image of our communities and the projects in the planning stage to create jobs, generate taxes, and support our mutual goals.
What we are trying to do is draw attention to the fact that the status quo of decay and decline in our region is bad and getting worse from an economic perspective. As noted in an editorial in Kingston’s Daily Freeman, that supported the Agreement in Principle, “The cost of continued paralysis for fear of any change is what’s intolerable.”

Partners for Progress,
Margaretville