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Save the date!

We’re delighted to announce that the MARK Project is going to present the second Main Street Bootcamp at Spillian on April 11 and 12, 2016. 

This promises to be a very special event – last year’s version was a sold out crowd sharing brilliant ideas about how to revitalize our communities through creative planning, economic development, historic preservation, visioning, and most of all, working together to strengthen the weave of our villages and towns.

There will be a host of speakers again this year, working rich ideas about how we make our main streets (and beyond!) sing.

If you live in the Catskills and want to learn more about what you can do with and for your community, you need to be here! Stay tuned for lots more details…but make sure you get it on your calendar!

From the Executive Director of the MARK Project:

I’ve had the honor of serving as Executive Director of the MARK Project since July of 2008. Rarely a day goes by that I’m not completely awed by these alluring, majestic Catskill Mountains. Yet, those of us who have made the life decision to coexist with this often demanding landscape are challenged with a constant balancing act. Quality of life, economic stability, community vibrancy and humanity all play a role in fostering our sense of place in the Catskills. So many of us cherish this region with our hearts and souls and invest time, energy and resources to make life better. However, in the absence of a coordinated and cohesive process, our work becomes weakened by our inability to make effective change. My question to you is this: are we working hard to reach our own individual goals and objectives, or is there a broader design that will make our whole communities thrive?

For nearly four decades, the MARK Project has been working to bring resources, talent, and investment to the region. Our list of successful projects continues to expand: from helping economically challenged households with their health and safety issues and providing safe and affordable housing opportunities; to the injection of financial resources to our Main Streets and small businesses; to assisting start up organizations and providing capacity to smaller organizations; to taking on the harrowing and unpleasant task of recovery and rebuilding in the post-Irene environment. MARK also continues to tackle regional issues whenever they arise, and looks to initiate those community projects that are symbiotic and mutually beneficial to all. This is certainly an exhausting and often thankless effort.

Yet, there is still something missing — coordination and cooperation.

We are at a pivotal moment in the Southern Tier and the Catskills. For the first time in decades, there are available resources and opportunities to help our communities flourish and we have a library of planning efforts behind us that will help position us to make a substantial difference. But without a unified approach, our efforts will be fruitless. This is not about any one person or organization taking credit. It is not about one Main Street getting more attention than another. It is not about whether the arts are more important than outdoor recreation or whether an infrastructure project takes precedence over the development of a trail system. They are all interconnected and all contribute to the vibrancy of our communities and the region as a whole.

As we move forward, I am charging myself with the task of forging cooperative and collaborative efforts, and I am asking all of you to do the same. Now is the time to get our Main Streets talking to each other, to get community leaders to the table and help them stay on task, and to think about transformational projects and programs. We already know our potential. Now let’s make our goal to work together to create the vibrant and sustainable region that we envision — now and for future generations.

Peg Ellsworth