Nelsonville Board to Restore Legion Full Ownership

Also discusses dry hydrant woes, chime complaint, problem trees

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

The Village of Nelsonville plans to soon restore total ownership of Post 275  to the American Legion and void a 1989 agreement that allowed the village to claim the building if post membership dropped below 15 persons.

Nelsonville plans to give up rights to the American Legion site. Photo by L.S. Armstrong

At their monthly meeting on Monday (Aug. 20), Nelsonville Village Board members discussed the transfer of the Cedar Street property,  to be finalized after  the village lawyer signs off on a couple of legal questions. In July, the Village Board unanimously adopted a resolution agreeing to a legion request that the village re-convey the property “for the sum of $10” and authorizing Mayor Tom Corless to complete the deal.

Corless said that after membership increased in recent years, the military veterans organization, formally American Legion George V. Casey Post 275, sought to rescind the 1989 arrangement. “Since then they’ve grown significantly, and they were looking to get that overturned and put back the other way,” he explained.

Dry hydrant problems

Corless also reported that in a test, the village’s dry fire hydrant near Peekskill Road at Bank Street produced water initially and then failed to drawn an adequate flow. He said the hydrant, dug about 4 feet from the Foundry Brook streambed, was designed to rely on groundwater.

“We thought we had enough,” but in the testing, “it took between 4 and 6 minutes for the fire truck to pump 2,300 gallons out of there, and it was gone and just didn’t come back,” Corless explained. “It’s basically a swimming pool, a very small swimming pool. That’s not cutting it for us. When you’re sucking it out in four minutes, it’s not going to sustain any kind of flow.” To remedy the problem, “we’re going to have to breach into the streambed, so we get a flow going,” he told his fellow board members, Trustees Anthony D. “Ande” Merante and William Duncan.

A ringing controversy

The board heard from Village Clerk Pauline Minners about ongoing differences between Anita Desai, a Parsonage Street resident, and the Church on the Hill, otherwise known as the Cold Spring Baptist Church, located around the corner from her on Main Street. In a series of letters to the church, passed along to the Nelsonville board, Desai objects to the church’s daily steeple chimes, which strike hourly from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and play music at 12 noon and 3 and 6 p.m.  The steeple is in Nelsonville; Desai’s home is just across the village boundary in Cold Spring.

Chimes from the Baptist Church, or Church on the Hill, annoy a neighbor. Photo by L.S. Armstrong

“It is unfortunate that I have to write to you once again regarding the bells played at your church, their frequency and decibel level. You had assured me the sound would be reduced; instead it has increased exponentially,” Desai wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to the Rev. Tim Greco, the church’s pastor. “I would not have thought that striking every hour for 12 hours and playing tunes three times a day, seven days a week, would be acceptable to anyone. Certainly no other church in our village performs this routine. Nor did the Baptist Church in previous years.”

She noted that her house stands “on the same level and adjoining the church” and thus “is affected worse than any other.”

In another letter, dated July 3, she said that her repeated requests that the church turn down the volume “have simply been ignored. The chimes boom through my house like cannon from a fort.” Others who work nights and must sleep in the day and those who enjoy sleeping-in on weekends as well as visitors seeking tranquility also dislike being roused, she informed Greco.

She proposed Aug. 10 that the minister either visit her house or send a sound technician to check the volume when the songs play; or otherwise that the village government do a decibel test  “and see if it is of legal level.”

Corless promised that “we’ll look into” the concerns. He noted that “I don’t live anywhere near them, so I don’t know” personally how noisy the chimes may or may not be. He said the matter may involve interaction with both the Nelsonville and Cold Spring building inspectors. However, he added, noise control laws probably ban constant, unrelenting noise — not sounds coming periodically, such as music played three times a day.

Greco told Philipstown.info Tuesday evening “we are looking at all our options” in regard to the situation. “It’s sad; they have become increasingly threatening,” he said of the letters. According to the pastor at the Church on the Hill, “no, we never promised” to reduce the volume of the chimes, “but as good neighbors we did.” Greco (who also works as a reporter for the Putnam County News & Recorder) said the thrice-daily musical selections feature hymns as well as patriotic tunes and seasonal Christmas carols.

Tree-trimming needs

In other business, Merante continued his pleas for village action to deal with trees whose branches interfere with power lines or whose roots undermine sidewalks. “I think we’ve got to start working on this. A couple are really dangerous,” he said.

Money may be an issue, Corless responded. “We can’t go chopping down trees and doing sidewalks if we’ve got bigger issues” to address, he said.

After discussion, the board agreed that Merante should ask a couple of tree-care businesses for cost estimates for work on several streets and also contact Central Hudson Gas & Electric about cooperation with its tree-trimming operations.


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9 thoughts on “Nelsonville Board to Restore Legion Full Ownership

  1. Re “chimes”: Does anyone else find gratuitously snide the message on the Church on the Hill’s curbside sandwich board regarding “time for chimes”? Seems a tad provocative for a Man of the Cloth (and member of the Fourth Estate) whose more appropriate role might be rising above, rather than descending to, the annoyingly petty.

  2. I agree. I walk past there a lot and the original issue as I saw it was how they put the sign in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking strollers, the blind man, etc. Good neighbors? I think not.

  3. I think the messages on the sign are funny — some much-needed humor and levity to an often over-the-top, divided community. This whole issue is completely ridiculous, and I fear is not about “chimes” but something more. I for one praise Father Tim for bringing the Church back to success! BTW, I’ve lived across from the chimes for decades and I think they are great. It adds to the small-town charm of Cold Spring / Nelsonville.

  4. Rereading these comments this morning, I was completely dumbfounded that I had glossed over the “fourth estate” referenced by Sara Gilbert above. I guess my gut was right, and this isn’t a crusade against chimes or signs, but just a continuation of the phantom war against Fox News in our community.

    The Baptist Church has been a community landmark since 1833, it has a bell in its steeple and plays hymns; it hosts community meetings and worship services on Sundays; it does what a church is supposed to do. It had fallen on hard times in recent years, but Father Tim turned it around. Yet, instead of being proud of a community landmark that is once again healthy and vibrant, people attack it?

    How about people take a step back, breathe, relax and realize that Philipstown is a small town (it was once a community) and NOT the inflated political front-lines of the Conservative and Liberal movements that the New Yorker likes to portray it as.

    How about people enjoy the chimes, read a witty message on a sign, realize that a community landmark has been saved – and stop looking for Fox or Carter administration boogeymen in everything … and maybe we can have a community once again.

  5. I live on Parsonage Street right next to Mrs. Desai and have never been “distressed” or “roused” by the chimes or hymns emanating from the Baptist Church. I actually work “shift work” and often have to sleep during the day, so Mrs. Desai does not speak for me. When I bought my house on Parsonage Street behind the Baptist Church I had a reasonable expectation that they might have bells. Churches are funny like that.

  6. There are people who, in their own minds, always look on the negative side of things. Rev. Tim has taken a church on the edge of demise to one which is thriving. Did you see how many kids attended its vacation bible school a couple of weeks ago or see how many people attend its Sunday services? Rev. Tim, yes, a man of the cloth, has most definitely risen above all the petty inuendos sent his way through letters, etc., and is a good neighbor. We are glad to have him here. As for the sign, when asked to move it, they did. I enjoy the sayings on the sign; they make one think.

  7. Don Anderson, really? Blocking strollers? Take a walk down Main Street and see the tables out in front of stores. Or, better yet, in Nelsonville by the antique store and its signs. They all have something in the sidewalk. Mike Bowman hit the nail on the head on this one also, heaven forbid, Tim works for the PCNR and this is a place of worship. I can only imagine the pain the people against the church are going through reading this. Tim Greco, please keep the songs going so us on Pine Street can hear them. God bless America and stand up for religious freedom!

  8. I gave it a closer listen and the volume of the hourly gong has definitely been increased. I agree with Mr. Bowman that this may have been blown up a lot here but that gong volume has been increased, which seems like a jerk move. I love the chimes and the hourly gong but did he have to increase the volume? And to your point, Mr. Bowman, I think the PCNR and the letters to the editor that followed it made this out to be a freedom of religion story, which was ridiculous. This was a woman complaining about noise. Whether she’s right or wrong is up for debate, but the PCNR, for which Rev. Greco works, made it into something much larger.

  9. To the larger point: Church on the Hill is alive and thriving now. Hence, it should not be a surprise that some don’t like it that way. A church full of vitality is the result of the Gospel in action. I salute Pastor Tim and all of those in Philipstown, regardless of their denomination or background, who genuinely believe on spiritual renewal as the vehicle to heal and transform broken lives and communities. Complaints on chimes and signs miss the point.