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Unity key to community development says former mayor

Takeaways from RCS CBA's September Business Breakfast

Leadership, collaboration and cooperation were the takeaways from RCS CBA's Business Breakfast held on Thursday, September 23 at Sycamore Country Club.

Matthew Avitabile, former mayor of Middleburgh, spoke to the group about his experiences in community redevelopment in the wake of Hurricane Irene, which devastated his business district and many residences in the area.

A Village Trustee at the time, Matt and his fellow leaders had no idea where to start to rebuild, but he managed to get into Village Hall, put on coffee, and began to coordinate a response. In the early days it was simply creating a list of people who were in need of help, a list of people who had offered to help and matching the two.

Over the years, Avitabile created goals for redevelopment, helped create a business association, solicited donations, wrote grant applications, coordinated events and invested a tremendous amount of sweat equity.

"It wasn't as expensive as you think to do it, but it was a lot of hard work. It [community development] requires determined leadership," said Avitabile.

The speaker also said, "Community development isn't up to one individual. Until all the groups are willing to work together, nothing will be accomplished." RCS CBA took that message with us when we addressed the Coeymans Town Board that evening.

Prior to Avitabile's message, breakfast attendees also got caught up on all sorts of community happenings in our What's New Announcements. We also learned about Medicare from Kristine Lindskoog of CDPHP. She trains brokers on how to best help seniors use Medicare coverage.

Stay tuned for more details on RCS CBA's next event.

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