EXCLUSIVE: Doherty Asks UDSB For Expansion Plan That Would Promote Tourism - Some, Outside Sullivan
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Legislature Chair Rob Doherty has asked the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. to design an expansion plan of its organization that would promote Western Sullivan County, but that would also promote tourism in Orange and Delaware Counties as well as parts of northeast Pennsylvania.
Doherty, who is reportedly still in negotiations with the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association over the future of its contract, joined a February 22 Zoom call of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Board that also included County Legislators Alan Sorensen (the planner for Orange County), District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz and Freda Eisenberg, the planner for Sullivan County.
Assistant County Manager Michelle Huck has also been aware of the potential expansion plan.
According to the minutes, Rajsz suggested that some of the room tax collected when visitors stay in Sullivan could be funneled to the UDSB.
Rajsz and Doherty, who have traded harsh words in public over the past year , appear to have found some common ground on an issue that impacts both their legislative districts that are in the western part of the county.
Late Monday, John Pizzolato, chair of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. issued a statement:
“Legislator Doherty ran on the environment, geotourism, and representing the needs of the western side of Sullivan County. To my mind, he is making good on his commitments.
On a personal level, I and many other Democrats in the Town of Highland supported Mr. Doherty over Scott Samuelson because of the devastating legacy that was left for the Town of Highland during his tenure. This includes the Millennium Pipeline [ compressor station] of which zero of the fracked gas that compromises our health and well being can even be accessed by the town AND a sewage drainage system that will be dumped into Halfway Brook and thus the Delaware River, mysteriously permitted, for his new venture as part of the Eldred Preserve. Since day one, Rob AND Nadia (Rajsz) have come forward to support my efforts with the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Nadia and Alan (Sorensen) were previous chairpersons. Rob tasked me with what expansion could look like and I jumped at the opportunity to promote our most beautiful resource and put forth a proposal. The traditional uses of the area—fishing, rafting, eagle and bird watching, hunting—are things that never go out of fashion and truly mark the area. The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway not only works for tourists, but for second home owners and residents alike. The river communities have specific needs and the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Committee works in tandem with other agencies to promote and protect them. The UDSB and the Delaware River extend from Port Jervis, New York to Hancock, NY and both are part of other counties, yes, but the bulk of the byway is here in Sullivan County and we promote the region as a whole. Orange County and Delaware County towns contribute to organization, but the bulk of the financial support comes from Sullivan County, emblematic of the largest stretch of the river and road within our county. I look forward to continue to liaison with Alan Sorenson in his role as planner for Orange County and Hancock Partners and Delaware County. To ignore our neighbors would misrepresent the region as a whole.”