Coal Tar Cleanup at Boat Club Delayed One Year

Dockside agreement nears completion

By Michael Turton

The removal of toxic coal tar from the riverfront property occupied by the Cold Spring Boat Club has been postponed until next year. Work had been scheduled to begin as early as this fall. The delay, outlined in a letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Protection (DEC) to Mayor Ralph Falloon, was made public at the Wednesday (June 3) meeting of the Village of Cold Spring Board of Trustees. More than the remediation will now be pushed back. The boat club, which had been required to vacate its building by the end of August, will now have until at least spring 2015 to do so.

Toxic coal tar deposits from a 19th century manufactured gas plant are still present beneath the Cold Spring Boat Club.  Photo by M. Turton

Toxic coal tar deposits from a manufactured gas plant are still present beneath the Cold Spring Boat Club. (file photo)

The boat club building has to be razed in order to remove coal tar deposits found beneath it. Coal tar is a thick, brown or black liquid known to cause cancer and is a by-product of a Manufactured Gas Plant that operated on the site until the early 20th century. There are more than 200 such sites across New York State.

In his letter, DEC Project Manager David Chiusano said the latest geotechnical data from the site will be reviewed by the end of July and that the remedial design required for the project should be ready in February. Based on that schedule Chiusano estimated that bids to complete the work could be advertised in March and opened in April of next year. Approval for the work to proceed would then be expected by fall 2015.

Village poised to take over Dockside Park

A long-awaited draft agreement just received from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will likely soon result in the Village of Cold Spring taking over management of Dockside Park. The 26-acre riverfront property is part of Hudson Highands State Park.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Mayor Ralph Falloon said of the agreement which the Village Board will consider in detail at their meeting next week. Falloon said that the original draft, a boiler plate agreement used across the state, was considered during Seth Gallagher’s tenure as mayor but included several “sticking points.” He said that Village Attorney Mike Liguori has reviewed the new draft and “has no major concerns.”

Under the agreement the village would be responsible for the cost of maintaining and developing the property, which would be used as a passive recreation park. Development would be subject to OPRHP approval as well as SEQR – the State Environmental Quality Review. Preliminary concept plans have included such potential uses and facilities as fishing and boating access, a pavilion, trails, and concessions. It has also been suggested that the park be used as a home for the Building Bridges Building Boats program.

A separate initiative is using a $75,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Hudson River Estuary Program to design ways to stabilize the shoreline at dockside while also improving wildlife habitat and recreational use of the park. At a public meeting in April, Mark Carabetta, senior project manager with the consulting firm of Milone & MacBroom, estimated that designs would be complete by July of this year.

Trolley to stay in Cold Spring, route changes in store

There are changes in store for the familiar green trolleys that have plied the roads in and around Cold Spring each year during the past several tourist seasons. Vinny Tamagna, Deputy Planning Commissioner with Putnam County, appeared before the Village Board to discuss an agreement that will have the trolley kept at the Cold Spring Highway Department compound on Fair Street.

Vinny Tamagna, Putnam County Deputy Commissioner of Planning, outlined plans for Cold Spring's familiar green trolley. (Photo by M. Turton)

Vinny Tamagna, Putnam County Deputy Commissioner of Planning, outlined plans for Cold Spring’s trolley.

Up until now it has been returned to the County Roads Department in Carmel at the end of each day of service as required by the federally funded project. That initiative is now winding down. Tamagna said the switch to Cold Spring will save tax dollars by reducing fuel costs. The two trolleys will still be maintained in Carmel since Putnam County owns the vehicles.

The former Putnam County legislator also said that the trolley’s routes will soon be revised with potential new destinations to include Breakneck Ridge and Fahnestock State Park. A public hearing will be held in June in Cold Spring to review proposed route changes.

Tamagna is also working with officials from Beacon on a project that could see the trolley provide transit service on Sundays to such Beacon sites as the train station, DIA and Main Street. In addition, the proposed Hudson River Fjord Trail project is considering options for linking Beacon, Breakneck Ridge and Cold Spring via public transit, potentially using the trolley as part of that initiative.

Appointments and volunteer service

Steve Etta was appointed to the Recreation Commission to fill a vacancy created by Curt Landtroop’s resignation. Etta will serve through April 2017. Patty Villanova was appointed to the Lighting Committee. Falloon said that before the Village Board makes its appointments, the Historic District Review Board and the Recreation Commission will have an opportunity to comment on pending applications from residents interested in serving on those committees.

Local architect Donald MacDonald has volunteered to provide design drawings on a pro bono basis to help alleviate a longstanding drainage issue involving the Cold Spring Fire Hall and resident Phil Heffernan’s adjacent Church Street property. Heffernan and MacDonald both attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Photos by M. Turton

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