Herkimer County Ideal for Hurricane Refugees

Pleasant Ave Herkimer NY

by Linda J. Kaidan

What makes Herkimer County ideal place to live?

What makes coastal areas like Houston and Florida Dangerous?

Places like Houston, TX where Hurricane Harvey left 100’s of thousands homeless. In Florida 20 million FL residents were asked to prepare to evacuate the state due to Irma, a hurricane larger than the entire state. At least 39% of Americans (excluding Alaska) live in coastal counties.  Climate is likely to make their lives even more precarious as time goes by.

In many of the flooded regions, bacteria from raw sewage is mixing with stagnant water, leaving millions at risk of highly communicable diseases like cholera. While many are adamant that they will rebuild, many if not most won’t. This is because they lack flood insurance or because insurers are simply not able to cover such massive losses. The awesome storms we’ve seen these past weeks are becoming more frequent and ferocious. A settled life along the Atlantic and Gulf seaboards is becoming impossible. Families and businesses will see the logic of relocating to places marked as relatively safe, such as Central New York and Herkimer County.

The smartest people will be the first to realize that threats of climate change disaster make it impossible to have a viable future where they live. The map we saw in the New York Times, highlighting the bright future of Herkimer is a quiet understatement of America’s impending GDP loss.

Where should endangered coastal residents relocate?

Many of the cities and towns around the Great Lakes are in the Rust Belt. They lost jobs and population years ago, when much of our manufacturing went off shore. Years of economic decline led to migration away from these formerly prosperous places, such as Herkimer. In adversity lies opportunity:  there are many homes and commercial areas available for very low prices in these economically depressed parts of the US.  But those who come will come north from the coasts, delighted to find havens of affordable, well-built homes may face some hardships of entrenched corruption and crime that form the underground economy of many Rust Belt towns and villages, like Herkimer.

Crime exists everywhere including the long-neglected factory towns like ours that dot the America’s climate change survival belt. Nor is it reflective of most Herkimer’s residents; they’ve been cowed by decades of malfeasance and a core of cops eager to serve Herkimer’s cash-heavy criminals.

What should we do for a better Herkimer future?

Let’s ensure that crime and failed governance don’t stop the crucial development needed to relocate populations and businesses to climate change havens like Herkimer. Migration to central New York from the coasts will be a huge, disruptive but inevitable transition. It will be one we can take advantage of for own purposes as well as aiding others.   This inpouring of people starting fresh lives will mean jobs for our youth with brighter career prospects than drug dealing. And it will broaden educational opportunities, not just in professional jobs but also in highly skilled trades.

Lots of people are going to be coming here, sooner than later, people with skills, education and determination.  With them will come growing educational and economic opportunities. We can welcome them and a bright new future by demonstrating we’re a functional community, where crime is non-violent, not blatantly conducted on the street and is well-exposed by genuine journalism. The Herkimer Post will continue doing its part, bringing sunlight to darkness. But we’re merely a messenger. Rapid change is inevitable. Those who are part of the solution can prosper.

Herkimer Post Crime Editor Stephen Ames Berry contributed to this article.

Author:

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan