By Dan Hust
COCHECTON October 27, 2006 The funds were flying Tuesday:
• $50,000 to the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon;
• $25,000 each to the towns of Lumberland, Highland, Tusten, Cochecton and Fremont;
• And a whopping $300,000 to the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway for construction of a visitors’ center and promotion of and improvements to the byway itself (Route 97).
Tuesday’s press conference was, in fact, hosted by the Cochecton Preservation Society inside the old Cochecton Erie Train Station along Route 97, right next to the spot where the visitors’ center will be built in 2008.
Why all this money?
“In my opinion, the Delaware River corridor has been neglected over the years,” said NYS Senator John Bonacic, who secured the state funding. “It’s all been about the Hudson River.”
While much of the funding was related to the byway, the Delaware Youth Center was not forgotten, having suffered devastating losses in June’s flooding.
“I just want to say thank you!” said a beaming Tess McBeath, who has long been the chief promoter and public face of the community center. “With three devastating floods in 22 months, we’re pretty much out of business right now.”
But thanks to that $50,000 and community support, McBeath said the center will be up and running one day soon.
Bonacic, campaigning for re-election this November, also took advantage of the press conference to talk about powerlines and the Greenway.
“NYRI, I think, has been mortally wounded,” he told the crowd of politicians and tourism officials.
Bonacic explained that the company, which wants to route high-tension powerlines down through western Sullivan County, now has to spend millions dealing with red tape at the federal level.
“We should be writing now to [Senators] Hillary [Clinton], Chuck [Schumer] and [Congressman] Maurice [Hinchey]… to make sure they [NYRI] stay dead down there,” he urged.
Bonacic also spoke of the Delaware River Greenway legislation (similar to a program on the Hudson), claiming it was close to passage by the state.
“We have a gem here,” he said of the river. “And it’s a gem we want to take care of.”