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Editorial: Central Bridge, Promises, and the Assembly

Written By Editor on 3/6/18 | 3/6/18

I like hamlets. I mean, I really like hamlets. Perhaps it was from my high school days of bicycling between Middleburgh and Breakabeen and seeing the beauty of the Schoharie Valley, but there’s just something about them that carries a special fascination for me. I travel through a series on my paper route each week, and from Charlotteville to Fultonham and everywhere in between there’s a certain wonder for me. 

On page B1 my father wrote a story about Central Bridge’s progress over the last several years. Central Bridge is a good, yet recovering part of the County. Between my own time in the pint-sized community and tales from my friend Bill Kinisky in his years of service there after Hurricane Irene, I’ve learned a lot.

There’s some positive momentum there, but seemingly more light than heat. SALT is attempting to salvage its reputation by hanging its hat on a number of projects spearheaded by other agencies. The Land Bank is but one good example. In addition, “program” and “administration” fees should be watched for SALT’s well-worn reputation for misappropriation. Its recent partnership with Central Bridge and the Town of Schoharie shows some progress but unless administered correctly, may be one of the dozens of economic studies and public information input sessions that led nowhere in this County over the last two decades. Will the current photo-philes follow through with grandiose promises or leave the Civic Association and community partners hanging?

Often the largest barometer of success is simply to do something. All of the surveys in the world won’t make the same difference as a single filled storefront or new public service building. 

The page A1 news of the Hoober feed grant is, simply put, amazing. Senator Seward’s office went above and beyond in acquiring the $200,000 grant for the rail line expansion is much needed and may be another catalyst in an already positive movement on site.

However, it isn’t means for grandstanding. Latching onto the work of Senator Seward’s office, it’s become a political event for Supervisor and Assembly candidate Chris Tague while Schoharie and Central Bridge are still hurting. 

Having worked with Senator Seward on several grant projects through the years I observed two important details: 1.) the Senator’s office usually does the legwork the local politicians take credit for and 2.) a photo op for a grant that hasn’t spent a dime yet is bad juju. Part of the reason many of the projects here in Middleburgh worked was because (with the exception for the Valley Market) we never held pomp and circumstance until the very end. Far too much can happen between now and opening, especially if an important event is treated as a political stunt when the actual administration and appropriation of a grant hasn’t even begun.

I know that Supervisor Tague joined the SALT Board of Directors in the runup to the Assembly campaign and that each are looking for public relations wins as promises remain unmet. Candidate Tague promised Central Bridge a new firehouse, water and sewer upgrades, and the moon beyond. Former Supervisor Gene Milone, County Administrator Steve Wilson, County Board Chair Earl VanWormer, and more put in place funding for infrastructure improvements and the feed plant. 

Promises are great, especially when a community is in need of a win. However, I think it’s important for residents of Central Bridge, Schoharie as a whole, and the 102nd Assembly District to ask candidate Tague:

“Where’s the beef?”

-- Matthew Avitabile, Publisher

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Wells Farr said...

In this week's Mountain Eagle editorial, Matt Avitabile's hackneyed, time-worn and to an extent distorted complaints about Seward and Tague are as tiresome as his oh-so-"clever" 1970s era tagline.
Matt and the paper should just come out and support the candidacy of his friend, Wes Laraway once and for all.
We know and Matt knows we know.
If in fact Laraway is the best candidate to represent Schoharie County, Matt should have no problem whatsoever detailing Laraway's governmental experience as well as his public policy successes TO DATE, without hyperboly or cliche.

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