Wednesday February 6th ended the prolonged debate over the fate of the Orange County Government Center. Republican lawmakers and Democrats voted to pass a proposal to renovate the 43-year-old architectural landmark. The vote defeated County Executive Ed Diana’s attempt to demolish and replace the Government Center. Chairman Michael Pillmeier’s proposal authorizes bonding $10 million to design the renovations for the county government building.
March 12 marked the deadline for the decision that would determine the fate of the Government Center. There was a the risk of losing up to $2.7 million in federal funds to repair the water damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee from 2011 and thankfully legislatures have reached an agreement – one that seems to be highly influenced by the toll the closure of the Government Center had on local businesses in downtown Goshen.
Up until this February, small businesses in Goshen were experiencing the financial and economic effects of the closure of the Government Center. Left in a state of uncertainty, local business owners pushed for a sense of urgency in the case as they stared out onto empty sidewalks.
A large majority of the foot traffic in the village of Goshen was attributed to the offices in the Government Center. Visitors to the County Clerk’s Office or the Department of Motor Vehicles were large contributors to local Goshen economy. Those visiting the offices were able to experience the small town shops of Goshen for some quick shopping or a bite to eat.
Commerce was greatly reduced among various businesses after the center’s closure. Eateries were among those most affected as well as the Farmer’s Market from the loss of foot traffic. Some businesses claim their trade dropped 25% due to the closure and lack of action taken to determine a plan for the county’s prized center.
Thankfully the fate of the Government Center has been set. With faith and prospect, the plans for renovations will begin in a more urgent manner than they were met and the process will aid in the financial renovations of local businesses as well. The construction may also bring good business for local eateries and small town stores and, within time, the empty sidewalks will soon be filled with the traffic they once boasted.