Develop 'want list' for Lenox incentives
To the editor:
The word "incentive" is generally defined as "something that motivates a desired action." Cities or towns tend to offer financial grants or tax deferments as incentives for new business startups or expansions as a vehicle to increase tax base, generate jobs or provide a menu of desired services or products for the community.
It would appear to me that there are two necessary criterion for incentives to be mutually rewarding. First, the community identifying specific goals and second, an investor that has the financial capacity, expertise and desire to provide fruit to fulfill those goals.
Lenox has awarded real estate tax deferment incentives to projects in the past. The most recent I recall is the rebuilding/conversion of the former Edgewood Motel complex into a 'green' business lease facility by the Allegrone Company. And they have done a very nice job of it!
I have been following with interest the application by the Toole Hospitality group for a similar tax deferment incentive with regard to a hotel complex they currently have under construction across from the Lenox Commons center. While I will not comment on the need (or lack thereof) of more hospitality units (Lenox has more than 25 percent of the county inventory of rooms), I will comment on whether the real estate tax deferment incentive meets the criterion of "motivating a desired action."
It would appear to me that history has already defined Lenox as a desired and financially positive location for hotels, motels and B&B's. It doesn't seem to me that an incentive is necessary as developers are continually applying for permits and building. That's called a "slam-dunk" economic gift.
My view is that Lenox needs to develop a "want list" of new or expanding businesses or service providers that would benefit Lenox, its citizens and visitors without negatively impacting our quality of life. Lenox then needs to market that "want list" along with meaningful and structured incentives to "motivate the desired action" — bringing those entities to Lenox.
We currently have about six forested acres of Industrial land on Willow Creek Road in Lenoxdale lying idle. I don't recall any specific effort in my 30-plus years on the Chamber to identify our desired needs nor to initiate the promotion or development of the Lenoxdale site.
Additionally there are some available sites in both the C1A and C3A commercial zones along Routes 7 & 20 that could house tenants and Lenox could exert some influence with a thoughtful and rewarding incentive program benefiting both Lenox and specifically targeted users.Lenox needs to put the wagon behind the horse.
Bob Romeo, Lenox