Highland not keen on public river access
Story by Kaitlin Carney
ELDRED September 3, 2013 The regular Town of Highland Board meeting for the month of August opened with two special presentations.
Heather Jacksy, associate planner at the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, reported that she has been working on a local waterfront revitalization program. The county has applied for a $125,000 grant for six river accesses along the Delaware River, with one proposed for the Town of Highland.
The idea is to make these access points have a “uniform look similar to a national park that would entice tourists to stay and visit and would benefit residents.”
Three sites within the Town of Highland were proposed, close to Barryville. Construction cost depends on in-kind services and materials that can be donated or raised the example being Circle Park next door in Lumberland, created with lots of donated time and materials.
Supervisor Andrew Boyar responded, “The Town of Highland hasn't made any decision whether it is in or out in creation of the river access. Why in the world would a town want to invite abuse of properties?”
Boyar noted that one spot Jacksy proposed was the cul de sac in Barryville, at the intersection of Routes 97 and 55. The town has indicated that area is “hands-off and for emergency services use.”
Boyar added, “From the town’s point of view, we are not even sure that we want to be involved in a universal plan because it doesn't include our residents.”
Jacksy thanked everyone for their comments and remarked that “deciding what is possible is part of the process.”
Later, in his report, Boyar said that he is going to be involved in selecting a consultant to develop a river access, but that he is “not sold on the idea without plans for garbage and bathroom facilities… We would not commit to something unless our concerns are addressed. If not, goodbye and good luck. We will not invite users to our town if they will not leave it the same way they found it.”
Terri Cole made a presentation on the Highland Summer Program.
“This was a wonderful, stellar year with the children. We had 130 registrants and about 83 children daily,” she said. “Activities include arts and crafts, sports, nature and science. For field trips, we went to Camel Beach, Field Station Dinosaurs in Secaucus, ‘Pinocchio’ at Forestburgh Playhouse, and a trip to Ross Park Zoo and Discovery Center in Binghamton.”
Cole is looking forward to returning for her 20th year next year, and hopes to find additional funding.
During public comments, Jim Hanson said, “We haven't had luck with the grants in town. Most recently was the Main Street grant, where we ended up with a business in Barryville with an offensive name.”
Boyar indicated that the board conferred with Town Attorney Michael Davidoff about the name of the business, and it is protected by constitutional free speech.
“When filing for the grant, they did not use their current business name, they used their incorporated name,” Boyar said. “There was no way for the grant program or the town to know what the business would be named.”
Stickett Inn, an eatery, was the business in question.
A letter was reviewed from Anthony LaRuffa, indicating that the Blue Mass (for emergency responders) will be celebrated on Sunday, September 8 at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Church in Yulan.
This year, the Town of Highland will formalize the 9-11 memorial and remembrance service. With the board meeting on September 10, Boyar stated, “We would like to have an evening or sunset service, and would move the meeting up an hour to accommodate the service at 7 p.m.”
Highway dept. talk
Highway Superintendent Tom Ebers gave his report, dealing with the shared services resolution.
“The towns work together during the paving season, and one town's supervisor has concerns… we’ve presented a resolution to make [shared services] more official.”
Ebers indicated that it is helpful to work cooperatively and saves the towns a lot of money.
Boyar noted, “When crews work together you get a synergy and efficiency that individuals don't… if one of the technocrats in the other towns feel we need a resolution for something that has been in place for 25-30 years, then we will have it.”
Councilman Fred Bosch, with Ebers’ concurrence, indicated what a fantastic job Paul Tulley has been doing with painting and maintenance. “He is really paying attention to detail,” Bosch said.
For the Beautification Committee, Arnold Gruel reported that he is picking up beer cans at the cul de sac. “It looks like there are parties, but there is minimal household garbage,” he noted.
Peter Carmeci reported on the Adopt a Unit, indicating that four packages were mailed to Afghanistan.
“The VFW post lost one of its founding members, George Burkle, a Korean War Veteran and resident of Narrowsburg,” Carmeci reported. “Two officers were sent from West Point (a major and lieutenant) and there was an honor guard provided by the VFW.”
Resolutions were reviewed and approved to adjust the Town Board meeting for September from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m., to approve payment for a new highway pickup from an unexpected fund balance, and to reject the sole bid on the surplus highway truck of $2,100 with a recommendation for rebidding and re-advertising competitive bidding.
A resolution prepared by Supervisor Tony Cellini from the Town of Thompson urging support for the NY State Constitutional referendum on casinos was moved, with Bosch making the motion and Boyar seconding.
“If the referendum fails in the county, but passes in the state, Sullivan County as a location on the list of potential places for the casino to be located would be low on the list,” Boyar said.