Image from Wikipedia

A story today on the WETM-TV website (pasted below) got me thinking about my hometown– Elmira, NY.

I have lived in Elmira my whole life. I love my hometown. Warts and all.

Many folks live here because they have to– this is where their job is. I live here because I chose to. I could work as a lawyer almost anywhere in the country (or even the world) but I chose to come back to Elmira after turning down a MUCH more lucrative job in Washington, DC (OK, no one ever said I was smart! 🙂 . I have NEVER regretted my decision to come “home” because I love it here.

Elmira is located in a beautiful part of Upstate NY called the Finger Lakes region. Despite its scenic beauty, Upstate NY has suffered economically. Heavy industry long ago dried up and the local economy is gasping for breath as it converts to service jobs, tourism and other smaller industries.

Even though it’s not an easy time to be an Elmiran, I love living here–

  • I love my eight minute commute,
  • I love walking down the street and having people actually say “hi” to one another,
  • I love knowing where my three teenagers are going to get in trouble (because I went there myself thirty years ago!),
  • I love knowing that if I was in trouble and needed help, there would be LOTS of people at my door offering their help. Can’t put a price on that…….

Guess, I wasn’t so dumb after all when I turned down that Washington, DC job….

Thanks for reading,

Jim Reed

Greater Elmira is Shrinking

The Greater Elmira area is shrinking.

A U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday says close to 200 people moved away last year.

Some of your neighbors aren’t surprised.

Elmira‘s boring and there ain’t nothing to do here and people want to go to bigger states to explore new things I guess.”-said Neighbors Quintin Thompkins

“It’s really hard to finding a job here.”-said Neighbor of Elmira Sam Spradin

“I guess if there’s things to do here, things to bring people in that they can work here, have jobs here than that will bring people here.”-said Neighbor of Elmira Chris Bravo

“There’s probably not a whole lot politicians can do in the short term but they have to look at the long term. they must do something about it.”-Said Neighbor of Elmira John McGlenn

Between July 2006 and July 2007, elmira lost close to 200 people out of about 88,000 people.

That’s about a .02 of a percent drop.

County officials say they know why.

“It’s jobs, it’s all about jobs our ability to put people to work, keep people working, to bring new people.” -said R-County Executive Tom Santulli

Santulli says expansions of companies like Schweizer-Sikorsky and Synthes should help increase employment opportunities.

Plus new retail and new manufacturing companies, like the unnamed candy making company will help create new jobs.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we can start reversing some of these population numbers.”-said R-County Executive Tom Santulli

While the Greater Elmira area shrinks, Dallas-Texas had the highest increase of more than 300 metro areas.

County leaders say some people could be moving there because of lower property taxes.

“States like Nevada and Texas that have no personal income tax. You get that bill due April 15th it can be a real uninviting characteristic of New York State.”-said County Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Keeley

Besides Elmira, areas like Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton also saw drops in population.