The Putnam Examiner

Odell’s State of the County Envisions Stronger Business Development

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County Executive MaryEllen Odell at last week’s State of the County address.
County Executive MaryEllen Odell at last week’s State of the County address.

Marking 2016 as the year to boost business development in Putnam County with “ambitious” initiatives, County Executive MaryEllen Odell unveiled several proposals during her annual State of the County address in front of a couple hundred people at the Putnam County Golf Course last Thursday.

“The economy impacts our ability to provide quality government services,” Odell said. “We need to show companies why they should call Putnam County home.”

Odell keyed in on supporting infrastructure in Putnam that includes water and sewer, transportation, and medical services. One way to do that would be working with the New York and New Jersey Union Carpenters and Contractors and as co-chair of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, Odell said she would use that clout to ensure Putnam receives the dollars the county is entitled to.

“We are going to build and build and repair,” she said.

Odell also introduced a newly formed relationship with the City of Danbury in Connecticut. The county and Danbury are going to explore expanding public transportation system, sharing recreational services and look into expanding the sewer system from Mill Plain Road in Connecticut to Danbury Road in Southeast, Odell said.

This could help bring the Stateline Retail Center in Putnam from concept to reality, she noted.

In an interview after her remarks, Odell said Danbury currently has excess sewer capacity that results in exceeding costs to run its sewer plants so by Putnam tapping into it, it’ll help offset their costs.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Odell said.

An update on Tilly Foster Farm revealed the new branding for the property would be the Tilly Foster Farm Educational Institute.

Odell said in order to finally complete the newly named institute, the county must invest an additional $1.1 million so the property reaches its full potential that would be “a destination for all to benefit, not the few.”

The county plans on working with the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES where subjects like culinary arts and bioscience education will be taught. Additionally, the county will partner with local restaurants that would showcase their various culinary expertise and possibly host weddings and other family events.

Linking with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Odell would like to see Cornel University bring more high value education programs and resources for economic vitality and ecological sustainability.

By creating the Tilly Foster institute, Odell said she hopes it can become a location for workforce development that would keep young people in the county. There could be “green collar” workforce training and land-care professional training. The county’s 4-H program could explore different careers related to the farm like veterinarian science and junior farmer.

Odell’s vision also included turning Tilly Foster into an organic farm that could change eating habits, which she noted has been identified as one of the major causes of autism. She wants to see the county use skills of the millennial generation that want educational degrees that help special needs children.

Odell said it makes “perfect sense” to offer food and beverage services, culinary arts, and farming practice, because those are all traits the county is identified by.

Odell also highlighted the Village of Brewster’s Urban Renewal Plan that is meant to revitalize the village. There are suppose to create up to 500 new parking spaces, up to 300 apartment units, 25,000 square feet of retail space for restaurants and services, and a village square for green space.

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