Economic Development recognizes local leaders
BY STACI WILSON
It’s often the people working behind the scenes that drive economic progress in a community and it’s not often those people and businesses are honored for their local efforts.
At the annual Susquehanna County Economic Development breakfast held Thursday, Aug. 22 at the Montrose Bible Conference, some of those efforts were recognized.
Commissioner Alan Hall introduced the 2013 Citizens of the Year – Barbara and Kirk Hinkley Jr.
“Citizens of the year doesn’t say enough about (the couple) or what they have done for the children in our community,” Hall said.
He spoke of their involvement in community organizations, including the local Little League and the Blue Ridge Triplets football program.
“Whenever any organization needed help, the Hinkleys have always been there to help,” he said.
Commissioner MaryAnn Warren presented the Small Business Award to Charles Zezzara, owner of Zazzara’s Super Market in Forest City. Joy Zezzara accepted the award.
Warren said the local market has been a part of every fundraising event in the Forest City area; and Charles has been a part of Forest City’s Commercial Association and a member of Greater Forest City Industries.
“His generosity extends to those even at the bottom of the economic ladder,” Warren said.
Lattner Industries’ Doug Lattner accepted the National Business Award. Lattner industries owns and operates local McDonald’s franchises in Montrose, Gibson and Hallstead, along with several Broome County, N.Y., locations.
Progress Authority Executive Director recognized attendees Ray and Ruth Wilmarth for their work with the Endless Mountains Health Systems building project, calling the new hospital and physicians’ clinic a great collaboration of both “public and private efforts.”
Ventello also noted Leatherstocking Gas representatives in attendance.
Leatherstocking is a natural gas distribution company which will be bringing natural gas service to residents and businesses in the area, starting with the hospital, and the Montrose Area High School this year.
“We need to add value to this gas before it leaves the area,” Ventello said.
Ventello also noted the Progress Authority was making headway with Honeywell who is possibly looking for an adaptive reuse of the Bendix site in South Montrose.
There are three capital budget allocations written into legislation for Susquehanna County projects, Ventello said. Budget pieces include $4 million for a hospital project; a half million allocation for a water line project to the county jail and recycling program; and a $2 million allocation for a feasibility study for the creation of an industrial park along the I-81 corridor.
Guest speaker for the annual breakfast meeting was Congressman Tom Marino who spoke about pressing issues in Washington, D.C., and the divided nature of the current political parties.
Marino advocated for congressional term limits, securing the country’s borders, reducing the national debt and deficit; and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.