Wayne County has become population stagnant — 89,123 in 1990, 93,765 in 2000 and 93,772 in 2010. The 2020 census likely will not produce an increase.
Our county is beautiful; tourists marvel at its lake and orchards and hills while noticing the sparseness of other tourists. Nestled between Syracuse and Rochester, we can enjoy the cultural life that cities offer, our scholars can choose from their many colleges.
But, many of these college graduates decide to continue their move to a new area. Fruit and dairy farmers worry about labor shortage. School superintendents worry when student enrollment shrinks. Parents would prefer their children make a living here and start families here.
Let’s not ignore the benefits that immigrants from other states in this country and from other countries could bring to Wayne County. Statistics show that newcomers are 30 percent more likely to start a business. A larger workforce brings added revenue and additional taxes to help finance our 14 towns, two villages and county government.
The question is how to accomplish the influx of new residents. May we start a dialogue? A forum is to be held on immigration issues on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the Ohmann Theatre.
Gaye Chapman