Meet the Candidate — Meet Bill Duke – Town Council Candidate

I bought my first home in Delaware County on Dry Brook Road in Arkville back in 2011. When I first drove up on 28 I fell in love with the area and knew it offered a chance to get repotted from Brooklyn to live a more interesting and creative life centered in community and nature.

I renovated the house and then I met Madonna Badger and that really changed my whole life for the better.  Those of you who know Madonna know she’s an extraordinary engaging woman who approaches everything and everyone with no fear and a lot of fun. We both married and moved to Andes in March of 2013 which means I’m coming up on 5 years here in March, making me somewhat of a newcomer.

I love Andes and find its dramatic landscape is beautiful in every season of the year.  Madonna and I are  lucky in that we have an incredible view on Hyzer Hill overlooking Gladstone Hollow.  Today sheep are visiting our pasture from Jackie & Joe Evan’s farm and I have to say the view, even with the leaves almost bare, is like a story book.  Driving around these hills I feel the area is a deeply spiritual place.  The Lanape Indians said it was so spiritual because the rivers flow in all directions.  The Andes landscape is unique in that it’s spectacular while being intimate at the same time.

I’ve found my life here rich and rewarding,  I teach yoga and organize a weekly drawing class and paint landscapes. I also write poetry and regularly play music at on Thursdays at Wayside Cider.  I’ve also been creative in business by developing the Willow Drey Farm wedding and event venue, which I’m pleased to say was cash flow positive this year. The venue has hosted several fundraisers for the Andes Food Bank and one for the Bright Hill Literary Press of the Catskills.  We also hosted the Andes Central School prom.

In creating Willow Drey Farm I found that The Town Hall, Artie Short, the code enforcement officer, and the planning board was supportive and easy to deal with.  This helped me make my next business decision.  Because we needed housing to support the wedding business, and I was seeing more interest in the area from younger vacationers and explorers, I bought two more properties in the village and developed them into four Airbnb apartments.   They’re off to a great start and last week I launched the Streamside Yoga studio at 506 Main Street which will help bring retreats and overnight workshops to the village mid-week and into the off season.  I’ve invested significant of my net worth in Andes.  Madonna says I’m  “all in for Andes”

I love the town and the village.  Going door-to door I’ve has a chance to see incredible property and views and also meet so many wonderful and interesting people.

So why am I running?  Preserving our mountain landscape and the streetscape in the village with its iconic American-build clapboard architecture is very important to me because this is what were selling when we bring visitors and residents to the town.   I’d like to keep our taxes down by helping to expand the tax base though residential and economic development.

It’s an exciting time for Andes with high-speed internet coming to support young entrepreneurs working from home and cell service on the horizon to support transportation like Lyft and Uber for retired people moving here. I love Andes the way it is, but I’m also feeling a lot of positive change.   If elected I’ll work hard for you to help grow the town, and our tax base in order to keep our taxes down.

Learn more at DukeForAndes.com

Bill is one of the four candidates running for the two Town Council seats.

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