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County Trend: Greenburgh Youth Plan to Leave Town

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Alex Herman and Tarem Cannonier have a few things in common. They are both in their early 20s and both grew up in the Town of Greenburgh. They are both in college and both came home to spend summer with their families.

There’s something else: neither want to live in the Westchester County after graduating.

“Westchester kind of bores me,” said Herman, a native of Ardsley and a geography major at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie.

Cannonier, who is studying human services and sociology at Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, had a similar opinion.

“It’s pretty peaceful,” he said. “It’s kind of slow.”

Keeping young people in Westchester is becoming increasingly important for the county, said Laurence Gottlieb, the county’s director of economic development.

"The first step is admitting that we have a problem," Gottlieb said.

According to U.S. Census data, Westchester County's age demographic hovers slightly above the national average by roughly 1 percent. The number translates into younger people leaving the county, while older residents adhere to the county's old niche that Gottlieb called a "bedroom community."

"The county used to just be a place for people to sleep," he said. "But that is changing."

Gottlieb said the south has proven to be a popular location for young people leaving Westchester, particularly Austin, Texas. Popular events like the South by Southwest musical festival have become staples of the region, and Gottlieb said the county could learn to adapt similar initiatives to turn the area more appealing for younger demographics.

"The music festival in Austin is one of the hottest things in the state," Gottlieb said. "What's our own thing? We need to find out."

Herman agreed that the county lacks a cultural identity.

“It’s just strip malls and driving around,” he said.

Cannonier said that there should be “more places for kids to party.”

Will Stickels, 20, of Tarrytown, contrary to Herman and Cannonier, didn’t see Westchester's quietness as a problem. Stickels, an English student at George Mason University, in Virginia, said that the towns are close enough to New York City and highlighted their “good environment.”

But he had another reason for not coming back to Westchester.

"It’s too expensive,” he said.

Why do you think young people leave Westchester County? You can join the conversation on Facebook .

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