THE WAY TO BUILD a strong, sustainable economy is by supporting locally-owned and mutually-compatible small businesses.
In the 1980s, members of SHOW (Save Hudson’s Only Waterfront) banded together to block the siting of a Russian-backed oil refinery at the river. While local officials blindly touted the project as good for economic development, residents successfully counterargued that amenities such as “a restaurant, park or public boating facility could generate money for the City without the same risks.”
Likewise during the St. Lawrence Cement controversy, plant opponents successfully demonstrated to New York’s Secretary of State that development based in more sustainable, small-scaled, and locally-appropriate businesses was vastly preferable and more beneficial than blighting, heavy industry. These precepts are reflected in the Secretary’s 2005 ruling, which can be downloaded and read in full (as a PDF) by clicking here.
In 2005, more than 200 area business owners, directly responsible for creating over 1,200 full-time and more than 400 part-time jobs under their own roofs, signed on to a “Statement of Values” which expresses this approach. The statement is as relevant today as it was then, particularly to the development and restoration of the Hudson Watefront:
- WE BELIEVE that a sound mix of industry, agriculture, trades, services, tourism, retail and arts is necessary to provide the job creation, opportunity, career paths, and tax base which sustain a healthy community.
- WE CREDIT the success of our community and companies in recent years to our employees, customers, fellow businesses, neighbors and communities—all of which are heavily influenced by our environment.
- TO ENSURE CONTINUED GROWTH AND STABILITY, we need to protect our high quality of life. This includes a healthy environment and workforce, clean air and water, scenic and historic resources, and public enjoyment of our unique natural surroundings.
- AS WE PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, we therefore need to consider the impact new industries or businesses will have, and we need to work to ensure that when we do add new businesses, we also retain what is best in the current community mix.
- IN LIGHT OF THESE VALUES, and after much discussion over a period of
several years, we have arrived at [the] conclusion that business, government and citizens must commit to working together to retain and attract mutually-compatible businesses that will fully achieve the balanced mix of industries described above, sustaining rather than detracting from the health, character and prosperity of our region for years to come.