Letters: The Foundry, Biodiversity and Butterfield

Tara, ma cherie,

I write you here at The Paper hoping as one of its foremost correspondents, you might use your influence to bring attention to a local tragedy.

Today I thought of you as I walked at the Foundry. I remembered many sunny days when it was not forbidden to walk along that path and be greeted by you and your frolicking, furry friends communing with nature. Dear four-legged citizen, you know me to be law-abiding most of the time. From time to time, I confess that I have meandered westward on the Foundry path on a weekend day flouting the “Keep Out Sign” but doing no harm. Perhaps if you had been near, you might have heard me sing my favorite verse of “This Land Is Your Land” as I ducked under the chain through a gap so wide it seems to invite entry:

As I went walking I saw a sign there

And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”

But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,

That side was made for you and me.

As I walked the westbound path, a felled tree blocked my way and so I brazenly turned and explored in an easterly direction. Mon dieu, ma copine! Dear wise soul in canine form, we can always have our memory of a time when the Foundry Park Preserve was a preserve. The crumbled bits of the factory walls, rusted remnants of machinery standing tribute to the hardworking laborers who forged the cannons that helped the North win the Civil War. A historic site where a body could sit down and allow the imagination to run.

The Foundry also has a personal historic meaning to me and my family. Many were the days I walked with a heavy heart and a clouded mind into our local place where time stood still and was cleansed by the rushing brook. Countless summer afternoons, I would dip my toes and those of my children in that clear cold water as we looked for fairies in the shady moss. Life decisions were made sitting on the limb that stretches from bank to bank; water finding its way downstream through debris offered a metaphor for the persistence I required. Dear Tara, I know if you were near, you would nuzzle up to me to offer your steadfast silent witness to my emotions much like the Foundry did.

I stifled my anguished wails only for fear of attracting attention to my trespassing. I found that if one stands at the brook with one’s back to the huge, shiny metal replica waterwheel that could only be a product of a 21st-century design and angles the body only slightly, one can still be calmed by the song of the water and the view of the waterfall.

Dear Tara, as I left, I wondered who will be picking up the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups left by those flocking to this Disney-ified park?

Your two-legged friend,
Kathie Scanlon

For biodiversity, go native

Is anybody there?  Does anybody care?  Does anybody see what I see?

I’m referring to the invasive vines and other non-native shrubs and plants along our highways, streams and forest edges. Have you not noticed all of the tangled jungles as you travel? The vines are growing insidiously and relentlessly, girdling the trees, either killing them outright or climbing up into their branches, breaking them with their weight, or forming a blanket-like canopy which blocks necessary sunlight to the trees and the forest floor below. We are losing millions of years’ worth of our majestic trees. The northeastern forest as we know it, is disappearing. Ultimately, the vines crowd out the native plants, significantly diminishing the value of wildlife habitat, in terms of food sources and nesting areas, and have a negative impact upon the number of species that can use the area.

In Bringing Nature Home, author Doug Tallamy, an entomologist (professor of insects) and speaker at the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College and the New York Botanical Garden, points out that we no longer have countless insects and states that “not only habitat loss by invasive plants has contributed to the loss of numbers of insects, but another reason for their decline is that insects seem to prefer native or indigenous plants of a region over alien species because they have coevolved with them over long periods of time, thousands of years.”

By alien, I mean exotic non-native, non-indigenous plants from other parts of the world. They take but do not give back. They take the sun, water, nutrients and real estate for miles and miles along our roads, but do not feed the other living species, and this is unsustainable. Non-natives do nothing for our ecosystem. Tallamy said it does not promote biodiversity but inhibits it, and that includes sterile lawns, which only seem to support Japanese beetles.

You may very well say, “Who cares about insects?” and say that birds can eat the berries. Yes, the adult birds can but, according to Hastings-on-Hudson author Carolyn Summers, “Ninety-six percent of baby birds need insect larvae as food, while more than 90 percent of those same insect larvae require the leaves or parts of indigenous plants as food.” Bird counts are down because they are having much more trouble finding insects to feed their broods.

What can you do? Join “free-a-tree” to cut vines along our highways (and cut them elsewhere when you see them), check out leaveleavesalone.org, and you can replace some of your Asian-evolved plants with natives. Leave the milkweeds for the monarchs’ sustenance for their long migration.

Tallamy has asserted that “biodiversity is a national treasure that we have abused terribly, partly because we have not understood the consequences of doing so.” Now that we are beginning to see and understand such consequences, it is time to act, in our own backyards. There are many plants that can be substitutes for the same old two dozen non-natives in everyone’s yards and gardens from coast to coast, so … for biodiversity: GO NATIVE!!!

Annie Patton

Plea to work together on Butterfield Project

I moved to Cold Spring about a year ago to be closer to my family. I have fallen in love with this beautiful village and the people here. I am so happy to be living here! I feel very privileged also to be living in the senior housing at the Chestnut Ridge Apartments. Last summer I was very pleased to learn, with great interest, about the Butterfield Project proposals which would take place across the street from where I live. After hearing about all the wonderful additions this would make to our community, I could really envision, once fine-tuned and completed, how this space was going to be an amazing and wonderful asset and benefit to the village. This is not only for older folks, but for all ages, and of great worth for a long time to come. Can you just imagine how valuable, useful, favorable, profitable and healthy to Cold Spring the following plans would be?

1.  A desperately needed senior center (with kitchen and room for meals and events)

2.  A community/youth center for local residents

3.   A home for the Cold Spring post office

4.   ADA compliant courts — saving money — without three sets of everything

5.  Municipal building, town and village offices — sharing common area costs

6.  New VFW/honor our veterans

7.  The beautiful open green field for outdoor events

8.  Need for a place for Putnam County services in this part of the county

How can this possibly begin to compare with 18 single-family houses now proposed for the site!!?? I was really looking forward to this development becoming a reality for Cold Spring. But I was truly shocked and saddened by Paul Guillaro’s need to suspend the original plans for the project due to the lack of support of the “B4A” zoning amendment. How are 18 single-family homes built on this site going to be a benefit and asset to the Village of Cold Spring with a possible negative effect on the school system, a rise in school taxes?

I would like to ask the Village Board to be proactive and ensure and keep safe the above listed proposals offered by Paul Guillaro.

I really appreciate the great time, care, talent, agony, talent and money that have been poured into this project. It would really be a huge tragedy to Cold Spring to lose this pleasant, charming, neat, aesthetically appealing and valuable part of town that was originally proposed. I appeal to the Village Board and Paul Guillaro to work in harmony to resume the original Butterfield Project (with fine tuning) to make this project happen without delay. I believe you can do it!!

I want to urge the citizens of Cold Spring Village and surrounding area to support the Butterfield Project wholeheartedly. In addition, it would guarantee that the spot referred to as the Village Green is preserved, as it is so popular in the winter for kids sledding.

Shirley Norton
Cold Spring

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