One overwhelming issue

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To The Editor:
There is a mayoral and village trustee election coming up in March in the Village of Margaretville. As both a village and Town of Middletown resident, there is one issue that is overwhelmingly important to me: making sure that we don’t lose the supermarket in Margaretville again.

All of us remember the nine months after Hurricane Irene when the supermarket was closed. Margaretville, especially Main Street, was dead. During the first months when no one knew whether Freshtown would reopen, the mood was depressing and pessimistic. People spoke of moving away and the lack of a future. The very day the supermarket reopened everything changed, including the mood.

The supermarket is the economic mainstay of the village. It brings in shoppers from a wide radius who also patronize other businesses in town and we have all experienced life without it. The owners of the supermarket have said that they will not reopen after another disastrous flood and I cannot really blame them. But, chances are, based on the history of the past 20 years with at least three major floods that have destroyed the supermarket in its present location, it will happen again. If Hurricane Sandy had moved just a bit this past November that might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. We have all seen the climate change drastically and although it’s possible we may not have another disaster in the next several years it would be very foolish to make that assumption.

I invite the mayoral and trustee candidates to address these concerns either here in the Catskill Mountain News or in some other venue. This issue is nothing less than the future viability of our village and town. What do the candidates plan to do about it? Do they plan to look into taking measures to prevent this possible disaster or at least lessen its probability? Do they have plans of what to do after it happens again?

There has been a national debate in this country for many years now about the proper scope and size of government, some arguing for more and some for less, but this is a case in which we need government; local, state and maybe federal, to lead and coordinate plans to avoid a foreseeable disaster. No individual, no one business, no chamber of commerce, can harness the resources needed to take steps to save our village and town from a disaster which would make those nine dead months our permanent future.

I hope there is a vigorous discussion about this immediate issue among the candidates for mayor and village trustee and among the town board members. I am aware that there are discussions going on about flood abatement and while that is very important it is a long-range project while the danger to the supermarket is more immediate.

More then ever, we need political leaders with vision, competence and guts to lead us out of our present state of waiting around until the next disaster finishes us.

Andrew Weiss,
Margaretville