Emphasizes need to know all facts but makes clear it’s a village decision to approve it
By Kevin E. Foley
Democratic State Sen. Terry Gipson in an interview with Philipstown.info underscored his belief that Cold Spring officials and citizens should decide the desirability of the proposed Butterfield project and the outcome of its final details. He said he appreciated how new development plans can create conflict within a community. “As a former member of the Rhinebeck Planning Board and a former village trustee I really understand the difficulty involved in balancing the issues. And I know the last thing people want is a state official coming in and telling them what to do.”
The interview with Gipson came in the aftermath of the senator’s visit to Cold Spring last week at the invitation of Philipstown’s Republican County District 1 Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra. The purpose was to tour the Butterfield site and meet with developer Paul Guillaro. Not for the first time, Scuccimarra apparently only invited the PCNR to photograph and report on the event.
Philipstown.info sought the interview with the senator to better appreciate his thinking and clarify his role in the process. Gipson said he was not informed prior to the Scuccimarra event that any media would be present.
Scuccimarra has become a champion of the Butterfield development, holding private sessions with officials to coordinate efforts to push it forward and attending public meetings to underscore its importance particularly for saving the post office. Inviting Gipson was consistent with that effort.
Gipson said his interest in the project stemmed from his emphasis on economic development in the Hudson Valley. “This project seemed to have potential to create jobs and reduce the cost of living for people,” Gipson said. He said he saw construction jobs as well as permanent full time positions resulting from the project going forward and the possibility of adding to the village tax base. Keeping seniors in the community longer, the integration of government services and the contributions to village’s walkability were additional attributes Gipson saw as he heard the project’s details for the first time.
The senator said he had offered his office’s assistance “with a variety of grant opportunities if officials want to move forward with the project.”
He said he also recommended that all the stakeholders be fully briefed on the project. “People need all the facts,” he said.
“I appreciate the Planning Board and the Village Board have a lot of worries. It’s completely up to them,” Gipson said.