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April 21, 2014
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‘Looking forward, looking back’


A living Main Street increases your tax base. Home sales increase as new residents enjoy its vitality; 50% of the sales tax collected stays in the county. Institutions benefit from the generosity of those who’ve prospered far away but now feel grounded here. The young return as entrepreneurial opportunity expands. Rural traditions like farming are revitalized. Narrowsburg’s Main Street is alive with children’s laughter again as in years past.

However, for some, all development plans must exclude Main Street in order to find approval. Conversely, any plan that helps Main Street (even as it benefits the town) is opposed. Main Street’s residents, merchants, its customers, and its revitalization represent a wedge issue in 2012. Investment and hard work, which had always bound communities together, now divide us.

Some of us look forward to a new Main Street in the same spirit as that of the founding families, but many here no longer honor that spirit. As we look forward, we also look back to the struggles of earlier times, and hope that future generations will find meaning in our struggles after we are gone.

[Stanley Harper became a second homeowner in 1983, and has lived on Main Street of Narrowsburg, NY since 2000. At that time he bought a commercial building, renovated it, lives in it, and has started two businesses in it, the present one being Narrowsburg Fine Wines and Spirits.]