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Seeds for thought

February 27, 2013

Our family settled on the old Smith farm, five miles outside of Narrowsburg, 13 years ago. In those 13 years, we have seen the public schools merge, the rural Narrowsburg school close and be boarded up, 9/11 and the banking crisis transform the national and regional economic landscape, people bicker over casino gambling and, most notably and sadly, the division of our towns by the promise or threat, depending on how you look at it, of high volume hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” All the while, our children have grown up in an uncertain time yet are eager to explore what the future has to promise. As a community member and parent, wondering how to cope with these uncertainties has forced me to take a closer look.

We seem to have been at the proverbial crossroads for the last five years here in the Upper Delaware. Should we choose or resist the gold-rush-like temptation that fracking offers? Several towns including Town of Tusten have voted a prudent “no,” concluding that the risks are too great to our heath, the environment and our future. Looking westward, fracking in Pennsylvania provides proof that it’s not what we want here. In fact, the fear factor has created a newfound awareness of what we have and have to protect. One can only dwell in the realm of uncertainty for so long before it is necessary to take action, positive action in the form of finding solutions. We are blessed to live in a community that is beginning to thrive from the inside out. New businesses and alliances are being formed through simple partnerships like the development of the fireworks committee to restore the 100-year Narrowsburg tradition, the Tusten Local Development Corporation to help local businesses and community projects. Simple actions like the old bus garage on Bridge Street opening its doors to the public are a sign of renewal.

Efforts by the Tusten town council to invest energy in projects like the town master plan or the Big Eddy Waterfront Park are admirable and offer proof that they care about improving the quality of life and the economic vitality of the community. Unlike certain towns in Pennsylvania that have banked their future on fracking, Tusten so far has chosen a path of fostering smart development and cultivating its natural assets—the historic character of our town on the beautiful Delaware River. So much progress has been made over the last 10 years in improving the hamlet of Narrowsburg, and it has already become a destination for travelers and new business owners looking for inspiration or renewal. Imagine what a riverfront park will do to enhance that Narrowsburg experience.