West Street may switch to one-way traffic

By Michael Turton

The sight of an interesting boat tying up at the Cold Spring dock is one of the visual perks of summer in this area.The sloop Clearwater recently made an extended visit, drawing many an appreciative gaze — not to mention countless photographs. At the June 10 meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, trustees approved a visit by yet another nautical guest. The Lois McLure will be at the dock from Aug. 13 to 15, as part of its 2014 tour dubbed 1814: from War to Peace, which will see the schooner visit communities along the Hudson River, Lake Champlain and Quebec’s Richelieu River.

The Lois McLure and a sketch of a similar boat from the 1800s.  Lake Champlain Maritime Museum photo and image.
The Lois McLure and a sketch of a similar boat from the 1800s. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum photo and image.

The Lois McLure is a project of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont. Built in Burlington in 2002, she is a full-scale replica of an 1862-class sailing canal boat. More than 20,000 feet of white oak was used in constructing the hull alone. At 88 feet, the Lois McLure is 18 feet shorter than the Clearwater but its distinctive shape and the bygone era it depicts more than make up for its smaller size.

The sailing canal boat was a new invention in 1823, when the Northern Canal was completed connecting Lake Champlain to the Hudson River. That in turn led to an economic boon on Lake Champlain, thanks in part to sailing canal boats that brought up to 120 tons of goods at a time from the Great Lakes via the Erie Canal to ports on the lake. The 1862-class was the last of a number of generations of the sailing canal boat that were built. Two Lake Champlain shipwrecks were studied to create plans for constructing the Lois McLure, named for a major contributor to the project.

As part of her 2014 tour the Lois McLure will also make stops at Poughkeepsie, Beacon and Peekskill.

West Street may become one-way

Trustee Cathryn Fadde updated trustees on an issue that may require a change in traffic flow at the riverfront. Drivers going north on West Street, which is two-way, face a dilemma when they reach the end of that road adjacent to the entrance to Dockside Park. A right turn from West onto North is not possible because North Street is one-way leading down to the river from east to west. Instead, an awkward u-turn is required, a maneuver that can potentially be dangerous during busy periods while also causing traffic congestion.

An area resident told Philipstown.info that on one occasion he witnessed an ambulance prevented from making a left turn from North Street onto West Street because of a traffic bottleneck. Luckily it was not an emergency situation. Village officials are considering making all of West Street one way going south, a move they hope will improve traffic flow.

Fadde also reported that the newly formed Parking Committee is currently focusing efforts on signage and enforcement, including a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether a parking enforcement officer is warranted. Fadde commented that no matter how much signage is improved it is of little benefit if parking laws are not enforced.

Putnam County officials have recently expressed interest in Cold Spring’s potential use of BigBelly garbage cans to replace traditional refuse containers at the riverfront and on parts of Main Street, according to Fadde. The solar-powered units compact trash and recyclables, giving them greater capacity than the old-style containers. Use of the high-tech units would reduce the overtime that village employees put in emptying trash cans on weekends during the busy tourist season.

Putnam County currently contributes $7,500 annually to the cost of Cold Spring garbage collection, an amount adequate to purchase two of the new units. Mayor Ralph Falloon suggested that leasing be considered, a move that would make four BigBelly units available.

Grove oil tank bid accepted

Trustees approved a bid of $1,460 from Valhalla-based Hudson Valley Environmental & Construction for disposal of the oil tank at The Grove, the historic but long-abandoned building located on Grove Court atop the embankment above The Nest daycare center. HVEC will also dispose of the oil still held in the tank and conduct soil testing to ensure the site is not contaminated. The village will also receive a written report from HVEC, verifying that the site is environmentally sound after the tank is removed.

The village owns the building and is dealing with an offer to purchase from local resident Steve Marino, the lone respondent to two Requests for Proposals to purchase and restore the structure. Marino plans to use it as a family home. Trustee Stephanie Hawkins suggested that additional bids could be received but Trustee Michael Bowman disagreed, calling the building the village’s “biggest eyesore” and said it was time to move forward.

Pumping station funding and tree FAQs

Greg Phillips, water and wastewater superintendent, updated the Village Board on two significant projects. Correspondence he received from New York State indicated approval of $109,601 to assist in relocating the flood-prone West Street pumping station to a safer location of New Street. He also reported that final draft designs have been received for the aeration and electrical upgrade at the sewage treatment plant on Fair Street.

Trustee Hawkins told fellow board members that the Tree Committee would likely be able to submit a draft ordinance outlining recommended management of village-owned trees in July. She also read aloud a list of Frequently Asked Questions developed by the committee to clarify its role. Among other points the FAQs make clear is that the committee’s work and the proposed ordinance deal only with trees located on village property and not privately owned trees.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features