The Partners have been around for 16 years, and it might be a good idea to review who we are and what we are trying to do. The “who we are” is easy, what we do is a little tougher.
We are a group of guys who got together in late 2003 at least partly in response to some editorial suggestion that “someone” do “something” about the local economy. Hancock’s major employer (Becton Dickinson had recently closed) and now there was talk that Larimer and Norton would close.
Thanks to Bard-Parker (BD) Hancock had prospered fairly well after the boom days of post-war construction and route 17 traffic through the village, but now there was no new savior on the horizon to provide local jobs.
This was as obvious to this small group, as it was to everyone else, what was not obvious was how to help. Our initial meetings involved a lot of commiseration and war stories when one of our group suggested we needed to get some advice from the proverbial “expert from 40 miles away with a patch on his sleeve”. You should know that the gentleman who offered that advice is the same guy that Lee Iacocca credited for saving Chrysler Motor Company….we took his advice.
We then each chipped in a few dollars and retained Shepstone Management of Honesdale who had recently helped Owego get funding for there Riverwalk project. He was already familiar with Hancock and soon prepared and presented a plan in the HCS auditorium suggesting that we (a)use our location as the Gateway to the Upper Delaware as a marketing theme, (2) increase offerings to our seasonal residents and (3) use our natural surroundings as the basis to develop tourism. He had also already confirmed that we would need to be a not for profit 501C3 corporation in order to act on his plans.
He specifically recommended that we immediately improve local signing within the village and increase the number of community activities. We immediately pursued these activities with the Gateway signing and fall/spring festivals. We also appealed to SUNY/ESF at Syracuse University for help with the tourism suggestion. Professor Kuehn then brought her entire class for a weekend in Hancock and in 2007 provided a Tourism Study presented to a large crowd at Hancock Central School. She remains a friend of the Partners who can be consulted as needed.
The major accomplishments of the first 16 years are the Hancock Economic Plan prepared by Alan Sorenson, the Fitness Trail and Scenic Overlook that were part of that plan, the building improvements funded by the Main Street Grant and of course the Town Square.
Each of these were only strategies to improve the local economy and we are still struggling.
Our current plan, the Hancock Economic Development Initiative unveiled last winter will be driven and monitored by our newly hired economic Coordinator, Valerie Senese. Input, and collaboration, on this initiative is designed to increase involvement of local government and both our seasonal and full time residents. Valerie’s contact information is available and I encourage you to contact her, or any director, with your suggestions.