Three projects eyed for long term
Story by Dan Hust
LIVINGSTON MANOR February 15, 2013 After suffering through a rough year, Livingston Manor is taking 2013 as a new start literally.
Following two packed public forums where a range of ideas was solicited, Manor Renaissance, Manor Chamber of Commerce and Town of Rockland officials have picked three long-term projects designed to enhance a hamlet eager to embrace the future.
“There were three ... which kind of emerged as the clear priority,” said Sullivan Renaissance Community Planner Helen Budrock, who helped coordinate the effort.
She gathered the Steering Committee together this past Monday night to tally the results of surveys given at the public forums.
Garnering the most votes of residents and business owners 96 in all was a RiverWalk/Town Square/Rails-to-Trails idea.
Coming in second with 43 votes was a concept to incorporate a community center into the school.
Rounding out the top three (32 votes) was a suggestion to extend the sidewalks and lighting from Manor’s downtown up Shandelee Road (County Route 149) toward the firehouse, library and town hall. That actually was part of the original plan when the sidewalks and lighting were first put in, but funding dried up.
There were nearly three dozen ideas put forth in all, and Budrock said some like a repainting of the caboose near the Route 17 exit might be undertaken in the short-term, to be determined at Renaissance meetings later this month.
But after a year with devastating floods and fires, Manor seems interested in responding with projects that equal those disasters’ epic scope.
“I don’t think anyone was sad to see 2012 go,” affirmed Manor Renaissance’s Marge Feuerstein.
Her group was the genesis of the visioning workshops.
“It started as a couple of us having this idea,” she recalled, “and we had no way of knowing what reception we’d get.”
Both forums, however, brought in nearly 100 people apiece from longtime natives to recently arrived second-homeowners.
“We were just bowled over,” she said. “It was important to see what people did care about.”
Officials hope to continue that sensitivity through citizens’ committees that will be chartered to address each of the three big projects.
“I think we’d be very receptive to that,” said Rockland Supervisor Ed Weitmann on behalf of the town board, which will be approached next week to authorize the creation of those committees.
The community center idea has already got some legs, with talks under way with the Boys and Girls Club to bring afterschool youth activities to the Manor. A youth board is also under consideration.
But what about the problem that has repeatedly plagued the downtown area: flooding?
Weitmann said the Army Corps of Engineers is nearing public release of a long-awaited study, after which the town will assess its options for dealing with the all-too-frequent overflow of the Willowemoc, Little Beaverkill and Cattail.
“We’ll decide how we want to approach this,” he affirmed. “No matter what some people say, there isn’t an easy fix.”
In the meantime, he’s eager to see what the community will rally around through these visioning workshops.
“If we work together,” he said, “things can happen.”
Renaissance will continue to aid where it can, added Budrock, including financially.
“I think it’s good timing, because our grants are due back in March,” she explained.