Turning Things Around in Tuxedo

Several members of the Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce spent Christmas Eve with Hema Easley of the Times Herald Record, which resulted in a tough but fair article that ran on Sunday, February 15th.

For the record, our plans for the visit were to show Hema the many positive developments that are underway in Tuxedo and Tuxedo Park. The press over the past year focused on many of the heated and emotional discussions surrounding Sterling Forest Resort, and we wanted to focus on the people that are currently hard at work making Tuxedo a better place to live and work. We visited with Richard Spiegel of SOS Fuels, toured the thriving Tuxedo Park School, and stopped in to witness the incredible activity at LiveTechnology. We discussed in detail the amazing potential of the conversion charter process going on at the Tuxedo STEM Academy. I thought that the visit was tremendously positive.

Of course, the article comes off as much more dire, focusing on "debt and discord" and portraying Tuxedo as a divided community. There are realities and constraints to be sure - a small population, few buildings, and even less land that can be developed - and not everyone agrees on how we should create a sustainable future. Like many small towns, we have lost businesses through the decades, particularly large ones, and we have not been able to replace them. The article correctly points out that we lack a strategic plan, or even a shared, cohesive vision on what we want Tuxedo to be.

As always, neither extreme is correct. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Our mission at the Chamber of Commerce is to tilt the scales toward the positive. We hope to take the focus and attention that we are getting and turn it into opportunities for business and improvement. We have a lot to offer: a quiet, safe, accessible business corridor, high-speed data access, public transportation via train or bus with ample capacity, beautiful surroundings, and a fantastic location less than an hour from the largest city in the United States. We sincerely believe that it is just a matter of time before we find the right mix of business and lifestyle here in Tuxedo.

While we are optimistic, the truth is that we need your help. If you are a part of the Tuxedo community, and have ideas and would like to be a part of the conversation on how to improve our town, we need you to speak up. We need volunteers to help engage people within and outside of our community. We need to find and locate entrepreneurs that are looking for a place like Tuxedo to invest.

For years we have been building toward a moment like this. We need to make sure that the next time our town shows up on the local paper, it's to highlight the turnaround story that begins today. We need to harness our concern and energy into positive, tangible change.

Let's get together and make it happen.

William Sweet