By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Cold Spring’s driving problem dominated the village board agenda again last night (July 27), when Church Street residents sought remedies for speeding on a block where 20 children live. A delegation of about half a dozen presented a letter urging village authorities to install speed bumps and signs to deter motorists who ignore the law and “barrel onto Church Street at dangerous speeds” and “that put our children in harm’s way. The situation has become more perilous every day,” according to the 21 signers of the letter. Church Street runs from Northern Avenue to Main Street, with a posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour.
       Cars “are going very, very fast on Northern and whip around the corner” onto Church Street, Kacie Grossman told the board. “It just happens all day long. I want everyone to know my street is not a good short cut.” “It’s a really dangerous block,” Leo Saks, another resident, concurred. He recommended Stop signs on Northern Avenue, separation of signs so they become more visible, instead of being affixed to the same pole, and painting of large white letters with traffic-control messages on the street. “We’re asking drivers to recondition years of habit,” he observed.

Church Street-view toward Northern Ave

With parking on both sides, “there’s no visibility whatsoever,” compounding the hazards if children dart into the street, Mayor Seth Gallagher pointed out. “It’s even more important that people drive slowly.” He promised to confer at the site with George Kane, the officer in charge of the Cold Spring Police Department and to install better signs. “We could get those in pretty quickly,” he said. He also suggested configured curbing to slow vehicles making turns. But he said state law forbids speed bumps on public thoroughfares, limiting them to private roads, including those belonging to a school district like Haldane. “I wish there were something else we could do,” he said.

Church Street-view south toward Main Street

In a note the mayor read aloud, Officer Kane, on leave this week, pledged intensified efforts “to enforce the vehicle and traffic laws of the State of New York [and] the village. The safety of residents as well as of the motorists is of great concern to my department,” Kane wrote. “I do not want to see this problem continue or escalate.”
       Trustee J. Ralph Falloon proposed raised crosswalks and Trustee Airinhos Serradas noted that Fishkill uses them in its historic area. Village officials seemed to take some immediate steps in response to the concerns. A Cold Spring Police car parked mid-way up Church Street at 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon and a village staff member said Trustee Bruce Campbell had contacted the New York State Department of Transportation on Wednesday morning to explore options for the village.  In recent months, residents of Parrott and Bank Streets, Fair Street, and Marion Avenue also have complained about traffic behavior that threatens neighborhood safety. 
       Another recurring issue –fate of the former Butterfield Hospital property — also returned to the Village Board’s agenda on Tuesday. The mayor announced that earlier in the day he had met with State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, County District 1 Legislator Vincent Tamagna, County Executive Robert Bondi, Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea, and Nelsonville Trustee Anthony Merante to discuss the site, which the county proposes to buy from its private owner. “It’s moving forward over at the County” with various initiatives underway “to make it a reality,” Gallagher said.
       Local senior citizens representative Joseph Immorlica, who also serves on the Cold Spring Planning Board, presented a petition with 335 signatures from throughout Philipstown asking government officials to develop the Butterfield property as a community headquarters. They proposed the site house a senior citizen facility, nutrition program, youth center, and office of the aging, as well as the Cold Spring, Nelsonville and Philipstown Justice Courts, village and town offices, the Cold Spring Police Department and a Putnam County Sheriff’s branch, the Cold Spring Fire Company, and the post office.
       Taking up other business, the board unanimously agreed to allow Village Justice Thomas Costello to hire his wife as his clerk. “It is an awkward thing,” the mayor acknowledged. However, he said, “she’s been helping him without pay” since the departure of the judge’s last assistant and has the requisite legal-affairs background. Gallagher said he had interviewed the other applicants for the position and although one was promising, she lacked the legal training. Costello had already received permission for the hire from the New York State Unified Court System.
       Before the board retired into executive session to interview a prospective police officer, Serradas asked that the village review developments at the Cold Spring dock, where, he said, youngsters have been jumping into the water and apparently climbing up on tires attached to the side of the dock. Some of the tires are now missing, he told his colleagues. “We need to do something.”
       “I’ll check on them,” the mayor replied. 

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Armstrong was the founding news editor of The Current (then known as in 2010 and later a senior correspondent and contributing editor for the paper. She worked earlier in Washington as a White House correspondent and national affairs reporter and assistant news editor for daily international news services. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Areas of expertise: Politics and government

3 replies on “Traffic Problems and Butterfield Hospital Plans Occupy Village Board”

  1. I attended the village Board Meeting last night.
    Here are my thoughts on what I witnessed…
    I think that for the sole purpose of “perception,” the Village Clerk and the Judge should ABSOLUTELY not be married….according to Judge Costello, she’s the most qualified applicant…OF COURSE JUDGE COSTELLO WOULD THINK THAT SHE IS THE MOST QUALIFIED…and hey, IS IT NOT A FACT, that her being hired by the Village, will bring more income into Judge Costello’s home…..Isn’t that convenient? Personally, I think it is wrong for the Village.

    Isn’t the Village of Cold Spring incestuous enough, or at the very least, perceived to be rather incestuous?….and yes, this is a rhetorical question…..And just how hard did the Village of Cold Spring try to find ALL qualified applicants out there?

    As far as the “Chalet” up at the foot of Breakneck being granted a license to sell “Italian Ice,” doesn’t that make things even more difficult for existing businesses…you know those who sell similar products, like uh…..go go pops…Janes Ice Cream…etc etc etc…If there is one thing the Village of CS is not lacking, it is Ice cream…and other frozen treats.

    So now, the all male Board and one term (one term too many, IMHO) Mayor, have agreed to permit an Italian Ice Cart for these folks tp further saturate this small market (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with their wanting to make some extra cash!) and they’ve set a precedent….How can they deny others, who might want to do the same? Hey, come to think of it, I’d like to earn a couple extra bucks over the weekend as well….hmmmmmmmm?

  2. Correction: That would be the Village’s Court Clerk…not the Village Clerk, although anyone who’d read the online report of the most recent Village board meeting would most likely know what I meant :-)

  3. RE: Mr Cusick’s post above:
    “As far as the “Chalet” up at the foot of Breakneck being granted a license to sell “Italian Ice,” doesn’t that make things even more difficult for existing businesses–you know those who sell similar products, like uh …go go pops, Janes Ice Cream, etc etc etc. If there is one thing the Village of CS is not lacking, it is Ice cream and other frozen treats.”

    What is hard to understand about this is the fact that Go-Go Pops applied for a permit to sell pops at the waterfront during the Summer Concert Series.
    We were denied, even though:
    1. We presented all the necessary documentation (liability insurance and the applicable health dept permit)
    2. We are a business owned and operated by Cold Spring residents
    3. We give employment to Cold Spring teens
    4. We contribute a portion of our proceeds to restore a Cold Spring landmark (the St. Mary’s Steeple)
    4. We use locally grown ingredients purchased from Philipstown and other local farmers to make our pops
    5. We gladly offer the village additional revenue for the permit to sell our hand-made pops at the weekly concert series.

    They accept one permit fee from the Chalet to sell hot dogs and hamburgers-and yet accept their application to sell an industrially manufactured, non-local product with no additional permit fee.
    The Village is turning away from an additional $240 in revenue that could be used to offset additional expense incurred by the village, such as police presence, sanitation and clean-up.

    Mr. Serradas’ mantra of “Do more with less” rings a little hollow when he and the other trustees gladly reject additional revenue streams that could benefit the village, it’s businesses and residents in so many other ways.
    One can’t help but wonder how committed the Village Board is to the economic vibrancy of its own Main St. and home town entrepreneurs.

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