By Nathan Mayberg
KAUNEONGA LAKE April 16, 2004 The Bethel Performing Arts Center is coming as long as there are no delays and promoters obtain all approvals in July 2006.
Glenn Pontier, spokesperson for the Gerry Foundation, estimated the timetable for the project after the public hearing in front of the Bethel Planning Board Tuesday night.
One concern was voiced by Ruth DeFazio, who lives on Hurd Road just down the street from the proposed center on the Woodstock festival site in Bethel.
She worried about the ability of the road to handle all of the visitors.
Larry Wolinsky, an attorney working as permitting counsel for the project, responded that the Gerry Foundation had no plans to widen or alter the road leading to the site.
Wolinsky said the size of the project had been cut in half from the original plan. The group is now only projecting a development for approximately 7,000 visitors, as opposed to the original environmental impact statement, which estimated 13,000 people or more might flock to the concerts.
The tab, however, is slightly higher than the original projection of $40 million $46 million is how much the project will now cost, according to Pontier. The Gerry Foundation will pony up about $31 million, as the state has promised $15 million.
The environmental impact statement was already approved by the Town of Bethel Board and Planning Board and the Empire State Development Corporation, said Wolinsky.
Construction is expected to begin in the summer, after final approval is given by the Bethel Planning Board.
The two years of waiting will be necessary to allow a lot of the soggy ground on the site to settle once a drainage system is installed, according to Pontier.
Written comments will be accepted by the Town of Bethel Planning Board for the next 14 days, at which time the public hearing will be closed.
The board announced that they intend to make a final decision on the project at their next meeting on April 11.