PUTNAM POSTING: More Thoughts on Monetizing New Industries for Putnam County

Jennifer Maher | June 2019

This column has discussed Airbnbs before, but there is so much more to the story. In the past I have stayed in Verona, NY for a commercial real estate conference at Turning Stone Casino and Conference Center. Staying in the casino is convenient for the meetings, but personally I never enjoy the feeling of being indoors for three to four days. Checking out Airbnb to see what they had to offer, I found an adorable waterfront cabin on Lake Oneida. We immediately went shopping locally, dined out, locally and of course bragged about the area on social media relentlessly.

Verona Beach is a micro economy in the State of New York that is fueled by short-term rentals. Groves of restaurants and shops, which depend on the short-term rentals to survive, line the Main streets. There is no doubt that these shops and restaurants also add value to the local quality of life; think of the Jersey Shore. Their property values are soaring through the roof and its Mom and Pop businesses are thriving.

Putnam County, has not really maximized the economic potential of our natural resources. The possibility of this micro economy that short-term rentals can bring could benefit many. Why are we considering turning such an industry away? We are not in an economic position to do so. Some may doubt that allowing Airbnb or the Cannabis industry in Putnam would have much of an impact, but given the rather sad state of the industrial economy in all of New York State at the moment, these may be the two most prevalent industries we could welcome and profit from.

Putnam needs to make the most of any potential economic driver. At least we should be open minded and explore these new frontiers from every possible angle, making economic decisions based on our community as a whole, not our political alignments.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council and currently serves as the vice president of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.