MFD actively supports resort

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To The Editor:
Many years ago when I was Chairman of the Middletown Planning Board, I was involved in discussions of the original plan for the Crossroads Ventures Resort. The planning board spent many hours going over the plan and its accompanying data. Hearings were held and, as usual, the most vocal commenters were against the proposal. The outcome of these initial hearings led the project’s leaders to go back to the drawing board, so to speak. The results of a downsized plan are now on the table and, unfortunately, many of the same naysayers are still nay saying.

Now, to look at what has occurred in the region surrounding the project area, we have to see what has transpired with the economy and population of the area. Student populations in local school districts have declined, many businesses are just hanging in there or closed and the young adult population has decreased significantly. Maybe one not-so-known fact about the changes in population is relative to the people who volunteer service to fire departments and EMS.

Margaretville Fire Department (MFD) is one of the local organizations that have suffered with the exodus of our young people who cannot make a living because of lack of jobs. To get specific for a moment, 11 years ago MFD had an influx of 10 young volunteers who were excited to be members and a total membership of 75. Most of these new recruits had grown up in families whose fathers were members. These young people were active in training and responding to calls.

They soon went off to college and remained active whenever they could within their school schedules. To make a long story short and get back to the problem at hand, four of these young people are still here as members and MFD has 58 members. What happened to the rest you might ask? In order to find work in their chosen fields they had to move to other areas, forsaking their family ties and membership in our volunteer fire department. This is not just a problem for MFD as all local departments and EMS services are suffering from low numbers.

When we consider the Crossroads Project and the projected employment statistics, it will be a boon to the communities. When young people get jobs and move locally they bring children to the schools, members to community organizations and money to local business. This is a win-win situation for all levels in the community.

MFD actively supports the Crossroads plan and recommends that others support it. We need people to serve our community and the Crossroads employees would greatly add to the pool of possible service members.

Mike Porter, President
Margaretville Fire Department