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THE WOODSTOCK SITE
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Woodstock Site Sullivan
Businessman Unveils Proposed Future of the Woodstock Site
Alan Gerry was born in Ferndale, New York and moved for a time to the Bronx where he attended De Witt Clinton High School. He served as a marine in the late 1940s, then looked for something to do and, under the GI Bill, studied television repair.
He came back to Sullivan County in the early 1950s and began clambering atop 160-foot antenna towers and stringing wires down to rural homes so people could get decent reception on their new television sets.
Such enterprises became the foundation of the cable television business, and his company, Cablevision Industries came to own franchises in 18 states, serve 1.3 million cable subscribers, and take in half a billion a year in revenues.
In 1996, Gerry sold his privately held company to Time Warner for $2.7 billion and became their seventh largest stockholder. Gerry, whose new company is called Granite Associates, said that at 68, he still wanted to pursue other ventures. "I have an uncle who lived to 101, and my father died at 95, so I have a second career ahead of me," he said.
April 24, 1997
BETHEL, NEW YORK
The following is the text of Alan Gerry's prepared remarks given April 23, 1997 announcing his purchase of the Woodstock site and his proposed plans for it.
"I would like to thank everyone for joining me on such short notice, but I think in a moment or so you will appreciate why this briefing session needed to be conducted this way. Earlier this afternoon, a key real estate agreement was completed which allows me to share with you the following information.
Granite now owns the legendary Woodstock concert site for the purpose of preserving in perpetuity this historic ground. Equally important, we have purchased the surrounding property as part of a strategic economic development plan that will create a year-round, world-class, performing arts destination center.
My biggest regret is that the person who shared this vision and embraced our goals, June Gelish, did not live long enough to join us today. What began as a business relationship between us more than a year ago became a true and honest friendship. I was privileged to know her, and of all the offers she has had in the past, I am glad that she entrusted the care of this historic site to us.
Over the last year, we have purchased a number of parcels surrounding the Woodstock site for the purpose of protecting the original concert ground and to ensure that we can add to the economic fabric of a county that I believe offers the best quality of life in the United States.
By the very nature of this strategic plan, we needed to assemble these properties quietly and without fanfare. I know there has been much speculation within the last few months, but we were compelled to remain silent pending the closure of several important tracts of land. With key parcels now under Granite�s control, we can speak freely and share this news with you. The land acquisition phase is now complete.
I built my business in Sullivan County, raised a family here, and believe in everything that is good about this place I call home. I am fortunate indeed to be in a position to return something of value to this region. That is what motivated me to pursue this project.
Rather than see the Woodstock site developed by some entity, or individual, who does not respect of value its place in American history, I decided to step forward and rather than allow its enormous potential to wither away, I believe we need to explore any number of options that will make the Woodstock site, and Sullivan County, a year-round destination center - one that will inspire a new generation of visitors from around the globe who will visit this very special place in the years to come.
I don't pretend to have a final vision of what these pastures will ultimately look like. It reflects a very special time of change that embraced an entire generation of Americans, and I appreciate that this property has been sold to me in trust to ensure that this touchstone of modern American music and culture is protected.
My comments to you, who are all friends of Sullivan County, is simply meant to let you know we have acquired the property. At this point, we have no partners and no attachments. We are literally at the beginning of a lengthy and deliberative process that will allow us to consider a broad range of options required to protect the Spirit of Woodstock and enhance the economy of Sullivan County.
While this announcement represents the very first step in safeguarding the Woodstock legacy, this much is clear: For years to come, we want generations of people from around the world to walk onthose hills and be inspired by Woodstocks past, present, and future.
Their presence will enhance the Sullivan County economy and encourage investment in one of the finest recreational areas in the nation. We will have the means to celebrate Woodstock and the county that gave birth to its spirit.
This is a very special day, my friends. With this announcement, the door is open to Sullivan County so that together we may step through to a period of growth, investment, economic revitalization and renewed hope in our county's future.
It is up to all of us to make this a better place to live, a better place to work and a place the whole world wants to be a part of!
Daryl Supak of Granite Associates