By Melissa Stagnaro
It’s easy to remember why we’re proud to call Chenango County home at the height of summer, when the days are picture perfect. Yes, the natural beauty of our area – from Lincklaen to Afton and all points in between – is one of our greatest assets.
There are, however, other factors that challenge our feelings of pride. There is poverty and all the socio-economic issues that go along with it, such as crime, domestic violence and drug abuse. A large percentage of our workforce struggles to survive on wages that feel frozen in time. Employers struggle to find skilled employees to fill openings. Taxes and mandates smother growth. Businesses – large and small – face adversity under the burdens of a ‘business friendly’ state. Inequalities in property assessments lead some homeowners to pay more than their fair share. We are saddled with an aging infrastructure, high energy costs and more.
Faced with these myriad challenges, we have a choice. We can accept the status quo, or we can face them head on.
Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll be doing just that: facing these issues head on in a new series entitled, Project Chenango.
Each of these challenges presents an opportunity for change. We have a choice. We can complain about these issues. Or we can seize the opportunity to face them head on.
In this 12-part series, we will examine our community’s most pressing issues and needs, including those we’ve laid out above. We’ll tell the stories of those directly impacted. We’ll identify the people and organizations already working to effect change in some of these areas, and highlight where work still needs to be done. The series will end on a higher note, discussing where we as a community can go from here, working toward a better, more prosperous Chenango County.
We won’t be pulling any punches. This will be a hard-hitting series. We want to lay it out for you in black and white. We have to, because to do anything less would be a disservice to you, our readers, and this community.
We are not, however, setting out to paint our county in a negative light, but rather a realistic one. Our challenges are real, but so are our opportunities for positive and lasting change. We hope this series will be a catalyst for that kind of change.