Putnam County Visitors Bureau Launches New Website
John Jordan | October 2017
CARMEL—The Putnam County Visitors Bureau went live in September with a re-launched and much improved website at visitputnam.org that features a host of new tools for visitors to take advantage of to plug into the many destinations and events taking place year-round in Putnam County.
Bruce Conklin, executive director of the Putnam County Visitors Bureau, explained that the new website is much more user friendly for site visitors as well as owners of tourism-related businesses to update and have more control over their listings on the website.
“It is also easier for event promoters to list their events. The goal of the website is to become the countywide resource for event information for travelers and visitors of Putnam County,” Conklin related. “It’s very visually pleasing and we are currently featuring a lot of art events and expositions going on right now in the county.”
The site in addition to offering a list of Upcoming Events on the home page, the site also provides links to the bureau’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds and extensive information under headings: Things to Do, Events, Dining, Lodging. If that were not enough a website visitor with a click can scan the latest under the Shop, Dine, Stay, Outdoors, Arts and History sections.
Rail Trails Provide Recreation
Along With Economic Benefits
In addition to the website, one of the bureau’s initiatives has been promoting the expansive rail trails in Putnam County and the economic benefits they provide.
During the late 1800s, the construction of the Harlem and the Putnam Rail Lines put Brewster on the map as the “Hub of the Harlem Valley.” More recently, with the construction of I-84 and I-684, Brewster has not only maintained, but has expanded its status as a hub for transportation and commerce. Looking into the future, repurposing the old rail lines into rail trails has Brewster rising up once again as a new hub for recreation and tourism.
Within the Village of Brewster, biking and walking enthusiasts will have access to the new rail trails from several points: North Main Street, Wells Park, Peaceable Hill Road and Allview Avenue. The new and proposed trails will allow for travel south to New York City, west into Dutchess County and the Walkway Over the Hudson, to Beacon and Cold Spring and east to the Danbury Rail Museum, connecting south from Danbury down to Norwalk. These trails will offer links between the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines of Metro-North mentioned real estate broker and resident of the Village of Brewster, Kevin Callahan.
Several economic impact studies have recently revealed the economic benefits behind these rail trail developments, as not only a touristic asset but also an economic driver to communities. Benefits include an increase in value of nearby properties as well as growth in spending at local businesses such as restaurants and retail shops. Longer rail trails could also increase a major sector of hospitality in hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Along the trail, there is a potential for new business opportunities, such as restaurants for example that will seize the opportunity to establish a new clientele of tourists and biking enthusiasts, as well as bike shops that will benefit from the increase in riders, B&Bs could take advantage of the rail trails by offering bike rentals and tours. These rail trails could potentially transform Brewster into a place where millennials will want to live and work.
According to the Business Council of New York State, a study of Maryland’s Northern Central Rail Trail found the state received $303,000 a year in trail-related tax income while the trail’s management and maintenance costs were $192,000 a year. Rail trails can also have more than one purpose, nationwide 40% of rail trails do double duty as utility corridors. The Town of Lloyd in the Hudson Valley, for example, received $400,000 to allow fiber optic cable to be laid under its five-mile rail-trail.
Putnam County officials noted that the newly renovated Wells Point and Brewster Farmer’s Market will connect the recreation of the rail trail to shoppers and families with children from Putnam County and elsewhere.