My family has been residents here since 1956. We have seen many changes, many exciting new beginnings and a few disappointments along the way.
There will be more changes, more beginnings and, inevitably, some more disappointments in our future.
What has propelled us in the past was, in large part, due to the government investment and involvement in buildings and jobs. From Air Force bases, to prisons, state universities and government grants, government has been involved in one way or another for much of the past growth in our region.
Private enterprise was also involved but these, to a large extent, were service industries in the form of hotels, restaurants and retail developed to satiate our demand and that of our friends from the North.
We have witnessed new manufacturing, and we certainly remain grateful for the investments of Nova Bus, Bombardier and Fujitsu and the countless support companies that assist them in producing world-class products here in our back yard. Their successes are something we should be very proud of. Various government programs also facilitated these successes.
We should also be very proud of the educational facilities we have that are capable of educating our children that allow us to ease the transitions necessary as technology marches forward at a torrid pace.
We cannot forget CVPH Medical Center as a major, highly regarded regional hospital capable of supporting this region with advanced technology in health care and specialties ideally suited for our area.
What has not occurred has been growth in the work force that will support the aging population that exists here and in many other communities across the nation. We are fortunate that we have the resources listed above to help us create the future environment for families to live and thrive.
Here lies the problem. Our various businesses and organizations need to attract employees with families to grow and prosper. In the past, we have looked for government to provide the funds needed to support growth by investment in public infrastructure but not the social infrastructure that binds the community together.
We all know that dependency on government cannot be counted on in today's economic climate, much less provide the vision we need to support the social and cultural needs of these organizations. The entrepreneurial spirit of this community needs to be energized so a ground swell of public support develops to provide the fertile ground needed to attract new families to the area. This will allow us to reach the potential that this area has to offer for its existing infrastructure and natural resources.
A few years back, Vision 2040 was initiated to focus on what we, as a community, would like to see as our future. This was an expanding group of people from all walks of life who put aside their own personnel concerns about how decisions made now would affect them and looked into the future to create a vision of what our community would look like in the year 2040.
Having visions of the future is really the first step in our shared journey to the future. Vision 2040 participants wanted to not only have a part in articulating this vision but also play a part in its implementation.
This group of engaged citizens will provide the community with the inaugural Vision2Action meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Krinovitz Recital Hall in Hawkins Hall at Plattsburgh State. This meeting will be the first of an ongoing schedule of quarterly meetings designed to show where we have been, where we are and where we want to be and how we are progressing in our journey to 2040 and beyond.
Mountain Lake PBS, Channel 57 will have a roundtable discussion at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, with leaders of the Vision2Action team.
Mountain Lake PBS will also host a live Town Hall meeting at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, where public input will be received and discussed. Please join in as we work on our community's future.
Robert C. Smith is chairman of the Partnership for Community Development.