State Park Rep Comments on Dockside Plans

No support voiced for full scale restaurant

By Michael Turton 

If nothing favorable happens when the  Dockside  site on Cold Spring’s waterfront is eventually redeveloped, it won’t be for lack of attention. At the June 7, 2011 meeting of the Special Board/ Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), Dockside was once again the focus of attention as stakeholders and board members zeroed in on two proposed plans for the property. While in the past many meetings have been limited mainly to brainstorming, this session was more about what works and what doesn’t. Special Board Chairman Mike Armstrong described the gathering as a “mini-hearing” on Dockside.
       Comments at the meeting by Bill Baumann, manager of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks will probably carry significant weight since the Village of Cold Spring is working out an agreement with the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Places to manage the state-owned property for which Baumann is also responsible. He said that the state would likely favor a series of renewable five-year lease agreements rather than longer-term agreements. Baumann commented on the two concept plans that have been put forward by the Special Board. One emphasizes community recreation, access to the Hudson River and trails linking the site to the rest of the village. The second plan proposes a full-time, full-service restaurant with some but fewer recreational opportunities.
       “I think you are being a little generous on parking,” Baumann said of recreation-oriented concept plan that calls for 36 parking spots. Baumann suggested that 25 spaces would be more appropriate.  He does not support the idea of a year-round restaurant. “I don’t think a full scale restaurant is what we’re looking at – probably something more seasonal like a clam bar. They (the former restaurant owners) had a tough time back then – it would be even tougher now,” he said, referring to the sluggish economy. He also said that with 72 parking spaces a full time restaurant would have a negative impact on the landscape. “You don’t want a restaurant there unless it’s popular – and popular means lots of parking.” Cold Spring resident Peter Henderson supported the idea of limited parking. “Keep it low key. We don’t want to attract the world…It could become a municipal parking lot,” he said.
       Baumann is enthusiastic about using Dockside for improved access to the river. “I love the (proposed) kayak ramp. I hope it can be opened up,” he said. New Special Board member Dick Weissbrod questioned why a kayak ramp is needed since one already exists at the Foundry Dock opposite the Metro-North parking lot. “I hear comments. A lot of people tell me it’s not desirable, access is difficult,” Baumann said. He also advised the board to look at the significance of weddings being held at Dockside. He said that at least 25 are being held there this year. A serious challenge in redeveloping Dockside is the need for improved shore protection, an expensive undertaking, and Baumann had some cautiously encouraging news. “DEC (the Department of Environmental Conservation) is looking for a pet project along the river and I think we’re in running for shoreline stabilization (at Dockside). It hasn’t been highly publicized but they’ve asked for projects.”
       When asked by a board member if he thought a dog run some have suggested for the site would be a good fit, Baumann said it could be considered. Two members of the audience said that they felt such a facility was not the best use of waterfront property.
       Building Bridges Building Boats (BBBB), a local nonprofit program currently operating out of the Foundry Preserve may find a new home at Dockside. The program builds and then uses small boats to teach boating skills to young people and families. Locating BBBB at Dockside was suggested as a possibility in the Comprehensive Plan. BBBB representative David Hardy said that the group would need to build a shed to store its equipment, but that its use of the site would be unobtrusive. “We’re pretty low impact. We may have 20 kids there maximum, but then we just go away (by boat)!”  Hardy said that the program needs river access and that Scenic Hudson’s plans at the Foundry Preserve include tearing down the shed that BBB has used for several years.      

Special Board Chairman Mike Armstrong flanked by new appointees Stephanie Hawkins and Dick Weissbrod

Cold Spring resident Ray Fusco addressed the recreation-oriented plan at length. “Keep it simple,” was his repeated message to board members. He said that creating formal paths at Dockside was a case of “over designing” the site. “Grass is good enough for me,” he said. Fusco had several specific comments about flaws in the proposed design of small docks, fishing piers and other shoreline features, although he also said that the drawing was only a rough concept created by someone not intimately familiar with the shoreline. He endorsed whole-heartedly the creation of a substantial dock large enough to support educational vessels such as the Clearwater. He cautioned against under-designing boating facilities which could lead to higher costs later if demand requires upgrading the facilities. When it was suggested that the main dock in Cold Spring may be adequate, Fusco said that there are problems there – that some of the sheet piling may be in disrepair and that restoration will be difficult because it would involve disturbing contaminated material on the river bottom. He also said the size and design of the current dock limits use. As an example he said that when the Mystic Whaler docked recently it took up most of the dock, something that creates conflict with local fishermen. He also questioned the creation of transient boat slips at Dockside. “If you open (the slips) to the world, it may not be the Dockside you’re looking for.” Fusco encouraged BBBB to think about establishing a year-round facility, one that could include indoor rowing machines that could be used for both teaching and fitness. He spoke against a full scale restaurant, pointing out that Main Street offers several such establishments.
       Earlier in the meeting, Armstrong reviewed recent developments that he said underline the relevance of the Comprehensive Plan, which is now in the hands of the village board. “Jazz Reach,” a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization, has expressed interest in the Village of Cold Spring garage site as a possible venue for live music. Vice-Chairperson Anne Impellizzeri said that more than one site should be looked at for such a proposal and that developer Ken Kearney has mentioned a similar public meeting place could be considered at the former Marathon Battery property, which he owns. Philipstown.info asked why the truck yard would be considered for a music venue when the public had suggested that a performance stage could be located at Dockside. Armstrong said that more parking at the truck yard makes that site more viable. Marie Early disagreed, saying that Dockside should not be discounted based on parking because it has been used successfully in the past for music events such as Community Day and the Summer Sunset Music Series.
       Armstrong said that other recent developments include a proposal to install mosaic art in the pedestrian tunnel under the railroad and the use of Dockside this summer for outdoor movies. He also said a letter submitted by John Dunn suggests a moratorium on zoning variances until the LWRP is approved.


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14 thoughts on “State Park Rep Comments on Dockside Plans

  1. “Special Board Chairman Mike Armstrong flanked by new appointees Stephanie Hawkins and Dick Weissbrod” – re: Ms. Hawkins, according to Mike Armstrong a few weeks ago no one had been appointed to the Special Board. Now Ms. Hawkins is there? When did I miss this little gem of info on dot info? I hope everyone in the community sees how this is further evidence of a concerted effort by the Working Village Group and Mayor Seth Gallagher to “stack the deck” if you will, and award loyalty by handing out political appointments. I believe this is called cronyism.

    I refer everyone back to the original WVG endorsement letter and ask you to compare it, and the names of recent appointments ). You might also want to look for connections between those most vocal against yours truly on these boards and compare and contrast with that list.

    I wonder what the next gross act of cronyism will be? Maybe Mayor Seth can reward Mr. Armstrong with a spot on the Planning Board? Seems only logical since the Comp Board/LWRP is already acting in that capacity as of late – and he does owe him quite the debt following all those endorsement letters in the PCNR and dot info (you remember the ones *signed as a resident of Cold Spring, not as chair of the Special Board for a Comprehensive Plan/LWRP).

    I think more members of this community need to get more vocal on this subject. Village elections are held unaligned with national political parties for a reason, mainly to prevent the special interests from getting involved. Sadly, the WVG (a self-admitted special interest group**) have brought extreme liberal politics to the Village of Cold Spring, and along with it secrecy, cronyism and in my opinion corruption.

    A.W.

    ** “Yes, WVG is an Advocacy group or a Special Interest Group. Please don’t give me any props for admitting what is an obvious fact.” John Plummer – February 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm

  2. “I think more members of the community need to be more vocal on this subject” Pseudonym 6-13-11 9:20am

    As it is impossible to be vocal with the written word, I will not be vocal. Instead, I will write my opinion that the rants of individuals that need to hide behind false names be given the consideration they deserve. NONE!

    Being vocal about issues is only tiny start. If there was more resident participation in local government, then all the village residents would benefit. At any given board meeting, there are 7 or 8 people attending tops. (AW nowhere to be seen!). If there is a group of residents who feels truly disaffected by the current village government then they should get involved and make a point of insuring their interests are addressed.  

    The current village board is comprised of members with a range of viewpoints on topics and issues facing this village. (despite what the tirades of some un-named poster would have you believe). This variety is important to democratic process and insures that more perspectives are represented.  

    As for AW (Always Whining) levying a charge of corruption, perhaps some of the people who were involved in WVG are the ones who actually participate in local government. Just because a group of residents believe in participating and take a unity stand, doesn’t immediately mean there is some nefarious plot going on (unless your so paranoid you can’t even reveal your identity when commenting).  

    By the previous poster’s logic, there must be some big plot because someone who has attended Village board meetings regularly for more than 2 years is appointed to a board. Seems logical to me.  

    As someone who has been attending village board meetings regularly for 5 years there appears to be no big plots going on. Just the typical transition which takes place over time. Maybe the fact that a number of newer  residents  (less than 10 years) in the Village are interested in participating  makes some a little uneasy. That doesn’t mean that there is some Outrageous plot! or Rampant Cronyism! Just the inevitable, change.

    Make no mistake though dear reader, the very next post will most likely be that of AW himself ranting that as I am a member of the WVG (which I am not) that I have no credibility.  

    Let me point out the big difference between whomever AW is and myself, I post under my real name, I go to Village board meetings, and I have no political agenda.  

  3. Thomas,

    Just a few things.

    1. “Just the typical transition” – I don’t recall any time in recent history, nor under any of the previous mayors when volunteers were arbitrarily kicked off of boards for political reasons – i.e. they supported another candidate, were conservatives, OR for racial and or religious reasons.

    2. “Make no mistake though dear reader, the very next post will most likely be that of AW himself ranting that as I am a member of the WVG (which I am not) that I have no credibility.” – well if your Thomas A that signed the WVG endorsement, well that makes you a member of the WVG, no?

    3. “Let me point out the big difference between whomever AW is and myself, I post under my real name, I go to Village board meetings, and I have no political agenda.” – Thomas A is your real name? You must have a hard time at border crossings and airline security with a last name like A.

    Lets get back to the real issue here; cronyism. The fact of the matter is that numerous, not just one – but many, volunteers have been forced to resign, kicked off and denied a voice by Mayor Gallagher, the Village Board, Mike Armstrong and the Comp Board. Why? Because certain individuals didn’t agree with their politics or views. They were replaced by political appointments, people that are willing to toe the party line.

    Imagine if America ran that way?

    A.W.

  4. From Dictionary.com:
    cronyism
    1840, “friendship,” from crony + -ism. Meaning “appointment of friends to important positions, regardless of ability” is originally Amer.Eng., from c.1950

    It’s ludicrous to think AW’s charge of cronyism applies here. Cronyism occurs when people are appointed to high powered, usually PAID positions, without regard to their ability. Mike Brown’s FEMA appointment by George Bush and his subsequent bungling of the Katrina response serves as a prime example.

    Appointments to the Comprehensive Plan Board/LWRP-comprised of volunteers, BTW- are not done by the Mayor alone. Each appointment of an applicant is approved and recommended by the Comp board itself first, then approved or rejected by the Mayor and Village Board of Trustees. It’s completely reasonable for Mayor Gallagher to encourage those who share his vision for the village’s future to contribute their efforts to the Comprehensive Plan/LWRP.

    It’s also reasonable for the Village Board to not reappoint those whose participation on volunteer boards serve to undermine and delay this vital planning process and progress for our village. If members of these boards fail to participate and collaborate with their fellows in a constructive and respectful manner, then it’s a responsible course of action for the Village Board not to reappoint such people when their terms come to an end.

    Just as constant griping, intransigence and unwillingness to cooperate with others does not equal effective governance, gathering support for a shared vision of the future does not amount to cronyism or corruption.

  5. Classic! Entirely predictable!

    I love the playing of the racial card! Brilliant! Religion too! Fantastic! Saving sexual identity for future use?

    The name comment is hilarious! If the rest of my name is such a mystery, how could you ever have deciphered whether I signed a letter for support of the mayor, which also included members of WVG? It must have taken hours of sleuthing! Very impressive!

    FACT: You hide behind your false name to criticize and rant from the safety of anonymity.

    Why the false name? To scared to speak your mind in the light of public opinion?

    “Imagine if America ran that way?” Really? How else does it run?

    Cronyism? It’s not, it’s reality. Every time there is transition in leadership at any level of government there tends to be corresponding changes in a variety positions throughout administrations. It’s a fact. Imagine what will happen if there are term limits? There will be all sorts of changes in boards! Oh the horror! Rant, Complain, sling allegations!

    If more people wanted to be on boards, there would be a bigger pool to draw from. The allegations you make avoid any actual fact regarding the circumstances behind the VOTES (yes VOTES, the village board votes on whether board members remain on boards or not) which led to changes in boards.

    It’s only your paranoid diatribes which paint a false truth of what’s really happening.

    The bulk of your comments are dubious perceptions rather than FACTS.

    But what else should be expected from someone who yells anonymously from the sidelines?

    Again, without a doubt, the next post will be from Always Whining, avoiding the issue of pseudonyms, alleging great political mis-deeds at the hand of the current administration.

    Guaranteed to be hysterical.

    And again, let me point out the big difference between whomever AW is and myself, I post under my real name, I go to Village board meetings, and I have no political agenda.

  6. Mojo Mary,

    I thought the purpose of the Comp Board/LWRP was to put forth a plan for the future that respects the views of everyone? I believe you are confusing democratic debate with “undermine and delay.” Basically, if we were to run things the way you suggest, Mike Armstrong would be the one writing the report and the recommendations, then submitting them for review. If anyone on the board had a disagreement with his dictation then they could be dismissed because they were holding up the process.

    Wait, isn’t that how it works now?

    Fact of the matter is, cronyism exists in Village Government. What qualifications or expertise does Stephanie Hawkins have that makes her qualified to be on the Comp Board, other than she is a member of the Working Village Group and spends a lot of time with the Mayor?

    Maybe, an appendix on the report or a link on the Village website can lead to descriptions of members work experience? I mean, here we are five years into this process, and thousands of dollars of tax payer funded meetings and draft reports (and yes grant money is taxpayer money) and Mr. Armstrong still isn’t done. In fact, they are now exploring designs for other people’s property to drag the process on further! I think the tax payers have a right to know when this will all end, and also why/who is dragging their feet.

    From the casual observer the Comp Board has come to resemble a bi-weekly tax payer funded book club meeting, complete with wine and cheese on occasion.

    A.W.

  7. The fundamental aspect of AW’s (Always Whining) complaint is that it is always selectively leveled at the people that he dislikes. Same people he finds problematic in every rant are attempting to destroy the Village.

    This is brilliant as well:

    “Maybe, an appendix on the report or a link on the Village website can lead to descriptions of members work experience?” AW June 15, 2001 8:49 am

    If this were the case, there would be fairly equal gaps in qualification across all board members on all the boards. Obviously, as members serve they gain qualification, but a volunteer pool of applicants always starts with deficiencies. That’s just reality.

    Why not take pot shots at Dick Weissbrod? How did Catherine Square have any greater qualification than anyone currently serving?

    As usual, AW just is anonymously screaming from the sidelines about the people he finds objectionable. Personal vendetta.

    I love the “dismissed” comment. A fantasy world where the ruling overlord Gallagher wields the power to dismiss whomever he chooses!

    As Mr. Pseudonym paints it, there is concerted effort on the Comp.board to delay getting things done and generally degrade quality of life here. Surely that’s why people volunteer their time. Not because they believe they could help or contribute to the betterment of where they live.

    Board members actually make an effort to improve life here through devoting there time and energy without compensation.

    Perhaps AW would prefer if everybody would just anonymously complain about the people they have problems with, as AW does.

    Maybe then we’d have a village up to AW’s snuff!

  8. Thomas, Thomas A., Mr. Ambrose,

    “I love the “dismissed” comment. A fantasy world where the ruling overlord Gallagher wields the power to dismiss whomever he chooses!”

    Your definitely onto something there!

    My only question for you…what appointment are you in line for?

    A.W.

  9. In regard to the Cold Spring Village website, I wish there was up-to-date information. As of today, June 15, 2011, the last minutes available for the Board of Trustees is March 1, 2011. Perhaps I don’t understand the process. If monthly minutes are approved at the next meeting, what is the problem with posting them on a monthly basis?

  10. “Mr. to cowardly to post under a real name”,

    The only appointment I’m in for is spreading fact in the face of those who rant lies and mistruth for some personal vendetta.

    Is posting my name satisfying for you? I’m not hiding anything, unlike you. That’s me Thomas Ambrose. You are the super sleuth I alluded to in the other thread! Brilliant work chap!

    Guess you have no constructive response to my last previous comments. Didn’t think you would, as there is little substance to the majority of your rants.

    Why not give up the petty posts under your false name, and constructively add to the dialogue as an actual member member of the community?

    Probably to much effort. Not like what you currently post contributes to much of anything but your ego.

  11. Mr. Ambrose,

    You wrote: “Guess you have no constructive response to my last previous comments.” I think I have been pretty clear with my responses.

    You don’t think there is cronyism in Village politics. I do.

    You are a member of the Working Village Group. I’m not.

    I think I’m doing a pretty good job of “constructively add(ing) to the dialogue as an actual member member of the community” – just not in the way you would like.

    I refer you back to the Editor of this paper’s comments regarding anonymous postings and how they are a protected right under the Constitution of the United States. A right affirmed by the Supreme Court.

    I understand why this may get the WVG so bent out of shape. When political dirty laundry gets aired it tends to get people bent. I find it especially interesting that a group of liberal minded people such as the WVG would get so winded about an anonymous poster such as myself. Historically, it has been democrats that have been the party of “whistle-blowing.” The fact that local libs such as John Plummer, Stef Hawkins, Dar Williams, Michael Robinson, Aaron Freimark, and yourself are so vociferous on the subject of “cowardly anonymous pseudonyms” – well lets just say that the hypocrisy isn’t lost on anyone. I don’t know if it’s just arrogance or a sense of entitlement among the WVG, but this notion that the WVG is right, everyone else is wrong…well it leaves a lot to be desired.

    Continue to bring on the personal attacks Mr. Ambrose. Each and every time you do, it further proves why (especially in such a small town) one may have to conceal their identity (or identities) in order to speak the truth.

    A.W.

  12. “Make no mistake though dear reader, the very next post will most likely be that of AW himself ranting that as I am a member of the WVG (which I am not) that I have no credibility.”

    Mr. Ambrose, I am confused. In a below comment, before AW used his detecting skills to determine your identity, you stated you are not a member of the WVG, but you are undersigned on the letter from the WVG in support of Seth.

    Congratulations you just proved all your points invalid, and of course you now have no credibility. You did it yourself, Arthur didn’t have to.

    I commend Mr. Warren for hiding his/her identity for this long, as secrets do not usually last long in our small town. People are angry at him/her because they don’t know who they are attacking and there for need to attack his statements and facts rather than anything personal. There may be good reason for their hidden identity that we just don’t understand. Maybe AW is an employee of the Village who is afraid of losing their position, maybe it’s a member of the Board. Don’t be angry at what you don’t know or understand. Someone somewhere knows who Arthur Warren is, and noone else really needs to know.

  13. “Make no mistake though dear reader, the very next post will most likely be that of AW himself ranting that as I am a member of the WVG (which I am not) that I have no credibility.”

    Mr. Ambrose, I am confused. In a below comment, before AW used his detecting skills to determine your identity, you stated you are not a member of the WVG, but you are undersigned on the letter from the WVG in support of Seth.

    Congratulations you just proved all your points invalid, and of course you now have no credibility. You did it yourself, Arthur didn’t have to.

    I commend Mr. Warren for hiding his/her identity for this long, as secrets do not usually last long in our small town. People are angry at him/her because they don’t know who they are attacking and there for need to attack his statements and facts rather than anything personal. There may be good reason for their hidden identity that we just don’t understand. Maybe AW is an employee of the Village who is afraid of losing their position, maybe it’s a member of the Board. Don’t be angry at what you don’t know or understand. Someone somewhere knows who Arthur Warren is, and noone else really needs to know.

  14. Fantastic! I love how effectively the concept of TRUTH has been liberated from FACT. Which is the principle issue I have with the vast majority of AW posts.

    Playing fast and loose with the truth serves most of the tirades he/she chooses to post here. Anonymous posting exists to protect individuals who might experience repercussions for controversial issues they choose to expose. The fact that AW uses it to constantly assert false allegations, mis-truths, and personal attacks is an ABUSE of posting anonymously.

    There is a reason that hiding behind false names is problematic, it often leads to statements that people would not say if they had to face up to it. It provides the freedom to be unnecessarily abusive, make false statements and cast false allegations. None of which are accountable.

    AW knows that the statements made in posts under a pseudonym do not threaten his/her well being in the village. It would simply be embarrassing to have to face up to them. Obviously AW uses the false name for cover. And in this case, using a false name to be free from accountability for one’s statements, deserves little or no respect.

    AW presents him/herself as playing an important role shedding light on the corruption of the current administration. That is not only the right that individual, it plays a critical role in a democracy. It is a fundamental tenet of the freedoms we enjoy in America.

    But as clearly demonstrated in numerous posts, that is not what AW is doing. I am not attacking a living person, I am attacking the abuse that is represented here by the name AW.

    As I stated above, hiding behind the right to anonymity to consistently level personal attacks (including alleging racism or religious intolerance), and base most post on factually erroneous, or skewed versions of events goes way beyond respectful use of anonymous posting. AND THAT IS THE ISSUE!

    Therefore I feel obliged to attack the concept that is AW. My attacks are on par with the disrespect that AW exercises in his abuse of anonymity. In this case, freedom from accountability also implies freedom from respectful treatment.

    I have never posted anything towards any real person even slightly disrespectful. Why would I? I might have to see that person around town.

    It is a small Village, but I know I will never run in to a pseudonym on Main Street.

    AW loves painting my guilt by association with the WVG and that I am playing the role of the cheerleader and blind defender of the current administration. Not the truth though, regardless of how many times AW wants to allege it.

    I did sign the famous “letter of support”, I even went to one WVG meeting in march last year. Does that mean I am a member of this “horrible” group? Does AW even have an idea of what the people involved actually are interested in doing?

    Seems doubtful, because how could such “corrupt” group of people be interested in activities like bringing family movies to dockside or insuring the elderly on wrinkle ridge are checked in on during big storms and power outages to make sure they are OK. Evil stuff, really.

    I feel compelled to challenge AW’s skewed version of reality. And AW is looking for that challenge, the tone of his/her posts intentionally invites it.

    As for an unanswered to questions, this whole thread began with an allegation of cronyism based partially on Stephanie Hawkins becoming a member of the special board and AW alleges racism or religious intolerance having a hand in it.Then goes on to call her qualifications into question.

    What about qualifications of other members of boards in the village?

    AW failed to demonstrate greater qualifications for Catherine Fadde over Stephanie Hawkins or Dick Weissbrod or Anthony Phillips for that matter. I really have no stake in one or the other serving (I know you’d find that hard to believe but it’s true). It’s classic AW though to ignore the fact that there are short-comings in any all volunteer pool so that he/she can level a personal attack.

    The reality is I do get bent out of shape by injustice. And abusing an important right (anonymity) in order to indulge in impudence is an injustice. Pure and simple.