NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Lucy Redzeposki is a funny lady, but she's dead serious about ushering in a new era of tourism for Rockland County.
In the 18 months since Rockland County Executive Ed Day brought her on as the county's Executive Director of Economic Growth & Tourism, she's done a lot with not very much, at least not very much money.
"They gave me no staff, no budget," she quips, setting up a talk with the skill of a seasoned comic at the Rockland Business Association's Thursday luncheon at the Paramount Country Club. "But I had to get something started."
In a short span of time, the indefatigable tourism tzar has revamped the county's tourism website, she's fostered alliances, brought prospectors to the county, and she's spreading the word on what Rockland has to offer.
In short, she is putting Rockland on the map.
Continuing her, er, "monologue," Redzeposki recounted her visit to Hudson Valley Tourism. "They thought they'd seen a ghost," she said. "They'd never seen anyone from Rockland before."
They told her "you guys pay dues but you don't participate."
At that meeting, Redzeposki lobbied to get Rockland included in the group's upcoming travel trade show. They asked her for a business to include and she said a brewery.
"I wasn't even sure if Rockland had a brewery," he said.
It did. Defiant Brewing Company from Pearl River was offered up, and the rest is history.
Introducing the guest speaker at the luncheon, RBA's president credited Day's administration with making tourism a priority.
"We played at it, we made believe, but we never had a true commitment to tourism until now, " said Samuels, who added his organization has fought for tourism support for two decades. Proposals have come and gone, but to little avail.
The room was filled with business folks who've already experienced the new dawn. Redzeposki gave shout-outs to the owner of the Time Hotel, to the Crowne Plaza, to Mayor Jen Laird White of Nyack, to Ula Neumann Robertson, owner of At Your Service Catering.
Earlier this week, the county's tourism official organized for a group of 31 Chinese travel writers, tour operators and media to see and experience some of the county's gems.
Both Redzeposki and Samuels echoed a common theme: Rockland has not always been that welcoming to tourists.
"There are people who resent the cyclists who come to Nyack and take the seats at Runcible Spoon," she said. "Don't do that. Give them a Rockland smile and welcome these people."
Tourism, which is New York's seventh largest industry, is an untapped exploit in Rockland County.
So long as Redzeposki isn't picked up by a Hollywood agent, expect to see big changes here.
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