Village Honors Long-time Volunteers

Village Board supports Fjord Trail

By Michael Turton

Before the start of more formal business, the Cold Spring Board of Trustees paused at their July 9 meeting to pay tribute to three residents who have recently retired from long-standing roles as volunteer members of village committees. Each received a gift from the village and was recognized in a proclamation passed by the board. By far, the veteran of the group was Placito (Parge) Sgro who served on the Planning Board for 39 years under seven different mayors. He was also hailed for his advocacy on behalf of senior citizens.

The Cold Spring Village Board honored three long-standing committee volunteers at its July 9 meeting. Honorees, from left to right, Joe Barbaro, Placito (Parge) Sgro and Peter Downey with Mayor Ralph Falloon. (Photo by M.Turton)

The Cold Spring Village Board honored three long-standing committee volunteers at its July 9 meeting. Honorees, from left to right, Joe Barbaro, Placito (Parge) Sgro and Peter Downey with Mayor Ralph Falloon. (Photo by M.Turton)

“Thirty-nine years. That’s amazing,” Mayor Ralph Falloon said.  “It’s really impossible to show our gratitude.” Joe Barbaro was praised for his 14 years of service  – initially as a member of the Planning Board, then as a member of the Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and most recently as chairman of the Planning Board. “Fourteen years is a long time for community service,” Falloon said. Peter Downey was lauded for having served on the Architectural and Historic District Review Board since 2004.

Falloon explained his close personal connection with Downey. “He’s my neighbor. His was a role-model family for me and they helped make me who I am today.” Never one to miss an opportunity to lighten the mood, Falloon added, ” I don’t take it personally that they (the three honorees) bailed out on me. It was their time.”

Grove Concerns

Liability continues to be a concern as the village prepares to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the historic Grove property, a move that could result in the building being developed as a private residence. The current zoning would also permit some government or educational uses. Trustees have expressed concern over safety in leading future tours of the property for prospective developers and others. The building was constructed in the mid 1800s and has sat empty for many years.

Trustee Matt Francisco reported that the village insurance company, which advises on risk management, has recommended that the board seek a letter from a structural engineer indicating the building is safe to tour. He also said that having tour participants sign a waiver is a good practice though not necessarily enforceable from a legal perspective. In addition he confirmed that village board members and volunteer members on village boards are insured in the same manner as employees when participating in such tours.

Two residents in the audience also had the Grove on their minds. Frank Haggerty said that he felt it might be possible for the building to be “dovetailed” with Boscobel.

“Would they take over responsibility for it (The Grove)?” he asked. “(Boscobel) moved and maintained  a large, historic structure. Could they use the Grove for actors or other purposes?”

Mike Armstrong questioned when a badly sagging and damaged porch at the Grove would be repaired, citing safety concerns. “It’s been a couple years now,” Armstrong said.

Falloon said that the work will be completed, “prior to winter” and that the advice of a structural engineer will be sought regarding the best way to prop up the aging porch. He said that his first instinct had been to tear down the porch but that the Historic District Review Board had pointed out the potential loss of part of an historic resource.

Boscobel is a Federal period house museum located on Route 9D just south of Cold Spring. Its grounds are home to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Built in the early 1800s, in Montrose, N.Y., 15 miles downriver from Cold Spring, it was moved to its current location in 1956, narrowly escaping demolition. The Grove was  designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn. It is located atop the embankment behind The Nest Day Care, on Chestnut Street.

Consultant selection methods questioned

Anne Impellizzeri is a veteran member of the Special Board for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and has recently also joined the Planning Board, but on Tuesday she addressed the village trustees simply as a “citizen observer,” expressing concern over what she sees as the board’s flawed approach in reviewing potential firms being considered as candidates to serve as the village planning and engineering consultant.

“I have…a big concern. Choices (of firms) are not being considered in any systematic way,” Impellizzeri said. Impellizzeri said that her concern stems from the long-term implications of such projects as the  former Butterfield Hospital site and the former Marathon Battery site. “How the selection is made matters a great deal.” She said that in her view it does not have to be a lengthy process. “Invite two or three or four firms… meet with them…(review) their interests and qualifications then make a decision.” Impellizzeri said that if that approach is adopted, “You’ll be in a much stronger position. It will be better for the village and you as a board.” Falloon responded, commenting, “There is no shortage of candidates.”

Village supports Fjord Trail

Introduced by trustee Stephanie Hawkins, the board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing a letter of support from the village for a funding application for the “Hudson Fjord Trail,” a proposed pedestrian path that would run between Cold Spring and Beacon along the Hudson River. The Town of Philipstown is submitting the application and has asked all municipalities along the proposed route to support the initiative. While there was was little debate over providing the support letter, there was discussion regarding the cost to the village and what form its contribution might take.

The cost of works to be undertaken within the village has been estimated at $69,000. It would include such elements as extending the sidewalk along Fair Street from the Riverview Restaurant past Mayor’s Park and moving fencing along that park to make room for the trail, without the loss of parking. Hawkins said the Village is being asked to make a contribution toward those costs, the amount of which would be determined by the board.

The contribution could take the form of services ‘in kind’, rather than cash, as evidence of the Village of Cold Spring’s support of the Town’s application and the Hudson Fjord Trail project as a whole. No decision was reached regarding the monetary value of a potential village contribution to the project.

Lack of complaints a good sign

In a written report, Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Greg Phillips said that the water main project, “has essentially concluded” and that remaining work includes only a few service line connections and pavement restoration. He thanked residents and business owners for having been very patient during the project, stating that, “I think the professionalism of MSI ( the company that did the work) personnel, went a long way in keeping complaints to a minimum.” Falloon agreed, saying “I was very happy with the complaints I did not receive.”

Independence Day and another parking  workshop

The Independence Day celebration held July 4 was very well attended, commented  trustee Bruce Campbell in a verbal report, although, “It was a very hot day and slow at first.” He said that the festivities, formerly called Community Day, focused this year on honoring the ten remaining Cold Spring veterans who served in World War II. The vets honored were in a ceremony held at the riverfront bandstand following the conclusion of the parade. Campbell said that one suggestion he has received for improving the Independence Day celebration overall is to hold more activities in the bandstand area.

Trustee Charles Hustis announced that a July 16 workshop to be held in the village hall will feature a discussion of parking in the village – including such specifics as parking meters and off-street parking.

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