It’s only his second year in business, but Hal Simon, owner of Fortress Bikes in Hurleyville, admits he didn’t expect it to go so well.
Simon and his family have spent the past 17 years using their vacation home in Rock Hill, a hamlet in Sullivan County. But he says it has always been a dream to move from Long Island to the Hudson Valley and live there full time. He says the right time has come in 2020.
“I was able to sell a house at a peak, and I didn’t have to buy anything because I already owned it,” Simon said.
What do you want to know
- According to the US Census, Sullivan County is the fastest growing county in New York
- A report by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress found the region gained more people from New York than it lost in 2020
- Sullivan County officials say the county is investing more in its tourism industry
But it’s not just Simon who decided to settle here permanently. According to the Hudson Valley Progress Model, this explosion of new residents is seen throughout the valley.
Data from a study by Pattern for Progress shows the Hudson Valley gained a net of more than 33,000 New Yorkers in 2020. This included a net of 1,062 for Dutchess County, 1,130 for Ulster, a loss of 32 for Orange and a gain of 762 for Sullivan.
Census data shows Sullivan to be New York’s fastest growing county at 1.5%.
Sullivan County planning commissioner Freda Eisenberg says there are signs the influx of former New York residents hasn’t stopped after 2020.
“There’s a strong anecdotal sense, not confirmed by the data, that we’ve had a pretty big increase,” she said.
Eisenberg adds that she is confident Sullivan County is ready for this growth, with jobs being added to the county from Resorts World Catskills Casino and Kartrite Water Park, in addition to the county doing more to revive its tourism industry.
But gentrification is a concern, so the county is considering addressing the state of its housing, including collecting information from residents for a survey that runs through July 31.
“Gentrification was a process that happened slowly, over time,” Eisenberg said. “Now it happens much faster.”
Simon says the move was everything he hoped for and more.
“I’m here for the long haul,” Simon said. “I love the region, I love the people of the region. Like I said, it’s been a dream of mine for a long time.
This survey is available to Sullivan County residents at sullivanhousingstudy.org.