Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 29, 2008 Issue
National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
Established 1891
news | sports | obituaries | archives | classifieds | subscribe | links | contact | tv listings | lottery



"The Wild Gardener"
Peter Loewer's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"The Mouth That Roars"
Bill Liblick's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"Inside Out"
Jeanne Sager's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"Sullivan EMS Scene Sizeup"
James Vooght's Biweekly
Column in the Democrat

John Conway's Look Back at the History of Sullivan County

Sullivan Renaissance

Sullivan County Chamber
Of Commerce & Industry

Sullivan County
Visitor's Association

Sullivan County
Government Center

Sullivan County
Partnership for
Economic Development

Please visit our
Community Links
section for other
Sullivan County

PLEASE NOTE: If you bookmark a particular link from the current news, sports or obituaries offered on our Website, be aware that the URL address will change once it is archived. Bookmarking an archived link is therefore the surest way to retain access to a particular article.

Dan Hust | Democrat

TWO YEARS OF drained water, resources and hopes ended triumphantly on Saturday, when Alliance Energy Renewables reopened public access to the Swinging Bridge Reservoir.

Reservoir Finally Reopened

By Dan Hust
MONGAUP VALLEY — Two years of drained water, resources and hopes ended triumphantly on Saturday, when Alliance Energy Renewables reopened public access to the Swinging Bridge Reservoir.
Sullivan County’s largest public boating lake had been closed since May 2005 while engineers repaired a large sinkhole in the reservoir’s dam.
In the interim, Alliance bought the property from a bankrupt Mirant (plus the Toronto, Mongaup Falls and Rio reservoirs) and set about accelerating the timetable.
“Alliance kept their promise,” remarked a jubilant Bill Croissant, whose Swinging Bridge Marina hosted Saturday’s reopening celebration. “They did it very speedily … [because] they really had the manpower and the knowledge.”
Croissant’s marina was one of two businesses harshly impacted by the drawdown of water from their main source of income, although he managed to survive by taking his services to other boating lakes in the area (and helping Mirant remove old tree stumps that had accumulated near the dam).
He had eagerly awaited the reservoir’s reopening, though Mirant hadn’t guaranteed anything earlier than September 9.
Then along came Alliance, and that date was shoved ahead to August 1.
Thanks to repair workers’ efforts, however, July 21 turned out to be the big day.
Croissant, though, said it will be a while before business is back to normal.
“It will probably take us four or five years,” he remarked of the days when he easily rented up to 100 boat slips and handled dozens of calls a day.
“But we’re back home doing business.”
Alliance was happy to be back in business too, as this arm of the energy company was specifically formed to turn Mirant’s former Mongaup holdings into a profitable enterprise once again.
Thousands of dollars have been spent not only on Swinging Bridge’s dam but on hydroelectric facilities at the Mongaup Falls Reservoir, said Regional Director of Operations and New Development Joseph Klimaszewski Jr.
“And we plan millions in [infrastructure] investments” over the next few years, he added.
“This is a resource for generating electricity,” agreed Alliance spokesperson Jane Rubinstein, pointing out Swinging Bridge’s longtime reason for existence.
Klimaszewski said Swinging Bridge itself can generate 31 megawatts of electricity but has been averaging less than half that in recent years.
Once some final tests on the dam are complete – and the water level rises around 14 feet to its historic mark of 1,070 feet above sea level – he’s hopeful Alliance will see Swinging Bridge become a fully active part of Alliance’s major investment.
In the meantime, he’s just happy the public and lakeshore residents – some of whom had their assessments lowered after the reservoir was reduced to a stream – can reap the benefits of a much-loved local natural resource.
“We’re so excited to be opening this,” he remarked while standing on Swinging Bridge’s sunny shore. “It’s all been about the lake, reopening the reservoir and getting people back.”
Alliance scored high with the public on Saturday, as people took to the water and the free hamburgers and hot dogs it offered.
Whether the company can keep that momentum going will hinge in part on how an upcoming tax battle evolves.
Alliance bought the property for more than $20 million less than its assessed value, and it has already made efforts to reduce its assessment by 90 percent in the four townships – Thompson, Bethel, Lumberland and Forestburgh – and the two school districts – Monticello and Eldred – it owns property in.
Klimaszewski wouldn’t discuss strategy, but he was firm in his optimism.
“We’re going to pay taxes,” he assured. “This is going to be worked out… We’re certainly willing to talk.”

Copyright © 1999-2007 Catskill-Delaware Publications.
The information you receive online from the Sullivan County Democrat Online Edition is protected by the copyright laws
of the United States. Please read our user agreement and our use information
privacy statement.
Internet Services provided by Time Warner, Site Design by Green Enterprises

Please be aware that once a new issue is posted on this site, the immediate previous issue's links change. Check our Archives section to obtain the new links for old issues.
top of page       top of page