Preferred designs expected by July
By Michael Turton
The second and final public meeting to discuss how to best protect Dockside Park from erosive forces of the Hudson River was held on April 3 at the Cold Spring Fire Hall with consultants reviewing a number of design alternatives. The project is being funded by a $75,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.
The initiative will not pay for construction of shore protection measures but will produce “shovel ready” designs that can be implemented once funding is secured. Ideally, designs created for Dockside will also serve as a model for other riverfront communities.
The consulting firm of Milone & MacBroom, based in Cheshire, Conn., is heading up the project. In addition to designing ways to stabilize the shore, the project aims to improve wildlife habitat and recreational use of the park. While flood protection measures will not be part of the project, ways to address flooding and wave action experienced during severe storms and influenced by rising river levels will be examined.
Three riverfront sections considered
Mark Carabetta, a Senior Project Manager with Milone & MacBroom, outlined the design options for Dockside which consultants have divided into three sections for planning purposes: southwest, the corner and northeast. Plant materials figure prominently into the erosion protection measures being considered for each section.
In the northeast section some of the alternatives being considered include refurbishing an old boat ramp for use by non-motorized watercraft and the creation of a small lagoon. In the corner, an area created on landfill, a boulder shelf, emergent vegetation and walkway are among the alternative treatments. In the southwest section a stacked boulder wall and a raised walkway are being considered.
Hopes and concerns
Mayor Ralph Falloon attended the meeting and told The Paper that he thinks the consultants are putting forward interesting concepts for the protection of the property. “Some of their ideas are pretty neat,” he said. “I think that no matter what (is decided), people just really want to be able to get right down to the shoreline.” The mayor said he wonders if some of the proposed vegetation will be able to withstand being trampled by enthusiastic park visitors. “We’re a trial project and hopefully we’ll learn from it,” he said.
Donald MacDonald, former chair of the Cold Spring Zoning Board of Appeals, was also in attendance and expressed concern that the height of some proposed shoreline plantings might interfere with the expansive upriver views.
“The answer I heard was that view would now be had in selected spots. I’d like to know more about what that means,” he said in an email to The Paper. He also echoed comments at the meeting from Planning Board member Anne Impellizzeri who said that she hoped the designers would not forget to accommodate “the human things” that people like to do at Dockside.
MacDonald related how he and his young son Connor “spent many afternoon hours at Dockside at the water’s edge throwing rocks into the river” and that he hopes that activity will still be enjoyed. He also wondered if children would be able to play on partially submerged rocks in the future as they have in the past. But overall, MacDonald said he is “totally positive” about the project. “I’d like it to be … tailored, as much as possible, to our village and how we actually use the river,” he said.
In an email to The Paper, Carabetta said, “Next steps will be for the team to consider … the input that we received and select a preferred design scenario.” He said plans for preliminary and final design of the shoreline will then be developed, in close contact with permitting authorities. Carabetta anticipates having design plans for Dockside ready by the end of July.
Funding and Dockside’s future
Once the preferred designs have been chosen, the challenge will be to find funding to undertake the work. Costs have not been estimated yet as part of the ongoing pilot project, but shore protection work of any kind is costly. Michael Armstrong, chair of the Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) has long argued that completion of the LWRP is a key to gaining optimum access to funding from state and federal agencies.
Dockside is owned by New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. An agreement with New York State that would have the village take over management of the property has been in the works for several years. Falloon said he plans to meet with State Park officials within the next two weeks and is optimistic that a draft agreement can be reached at that time. The tentative pact would then have to be approved by the Village Board.
Photos by M. Turton