Letter: Parge Sgro, Planning Superstar

Dear Editor:

The Cold Spring Planning Board has been undergoing a major change in its membership in recent years, starting with the retirement of 35-year member and former chairman Randy Taggert in 2009, followed by another 35-year member Joe Immorlica last year, and now Parge Sgro, who had been on the board for well over 40 years, retired on March 31, concluding his last five-year term.

Joe Barbaro, left, confers with Parge Sgro at a Planning Board meeting. Photo by Kevin Foley

Joe Barbaro, left, confers with Parge Sgro at a Planning Board meeting. Photo by Kevin Foley

Parge brought a working man’s common sense to the Planning Board along with a feistiness that made you think this octogenarian was really a 20-something. Most important to the board was his solid understanding of the village code, a sometimes imperfect hodgepodge of rules and regulations that zigzagged in its chapters so five people could end up with five different interpretations.

Parge’s interpretation was the one board members most respected since it was thoroughly researched with his handwritten notes that would make a lawyer proud. We all paid attention when he spoke, often at length since this code stuff cannot be condensed into a simple sentence. When Parge held the floor to discuss an important detail or a broad issue, the number of words he chose to use was directly proportional to the amount of respect Planning Board members had for his thoughtful opinions.

Parge has lived his entire life in Cold Spring. The local history he witnessed not only made for great stories around the Planning Board table, but it gave the rest of us some historical perspective that made us think harder about the outcome of our decisions. There is no price you can put on that kind of knowledge and his willingness to pass it down to us younger folk. His solid defense of the needs of senior citizens was not just based on his being a senior, but on doing the right thing for people who deserve to be treated well, especially as their health declines. Planning Board members absorbed every morsel of Parge’s senior words of wisdom.

Parge Sgro is also a modest man who does not feel a need to be praised or thanked for his volunteerism. In fact, if he is reading this letter right now, he is probably cursing me, nicely of course. To me, his kind of practically forever volunteerism is nothing short of astounding. Think of the love for his hometown he has in his heart. People always talk about giving back to the community, and many wish they had the time to do so. Parge has done more than his share, and I wish we could give something back to him. All I can give him is my thanks and some well-deserved praise. Thank you, Parge, from the heart.

Joseph Barbaro

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