Letter: Cold Spring Needs Its Boat Club

Provides many substantial positive contributions

Recently this paper published a letter addressed to Cold Spring Mayor Dave Merandy and Village Clerk Mary Saari. The letter, which was put forth by the Cold Spring Waterfront Coalition, seemed intent on portraying the Cold Spring Boat Club (CSBC) as a pack of freeloaders, party-hardy nogoodniks, and reckless individuals with no regard for safety and probably not much hope for salvation.

We figured the letter merited a brief response. In the scheme of things, my friends and I are relative newcomers to the Cold Spring community, with our time here ranging anywhere from one to 10 years. But last May we all bought a sailboat together and joined the CSBC, and, given what we’ve learned since then, we thought we should try to offer an alternative view of the club’s situation.

First, a few facts:

1) As most readers will know, the coal-tar issue is a community problem and not a problem created by the boat club. The club members agreed to close down early this year to provide room for the cleanup. We were surprised to see the club attacked in the way that it was on this point.

2) Hurricane Sandy, as most readers will recall, put a lot of things in a lot of new places. To assign the boat club special responsibility in that general catastrophe because a stored boat was dislodged and swept in an unfortunate direction seems, again, a surprising way to establish malfeasance on the part of the club.

3) The CSBC is made up of old and new Cold Spring families with diverse points of view and of diverse socioeconomic status. In fact, any village residents can join for little money in comparison to other regional boat clubs. Despite these differences, you will never meet a member who is not passionate about the welfare of our community, and — from a purely economic standpoint — having seen the number of visiting boats that came to dock at the CSBC this summer, we believe that an operational boat club plays an important role in bringing business to the village.

We (the undersigned captains) are all parents of young children (12 in all), and we certainly understand the Coalition’s concerns about environmental health issues. But we also value the opportunity that the boat club has provided our kids to explore the Hudson, learn a little about sailing, and enjoy the natural beauty that makes Cold Spring so special. With all there is to enjoy here, the prospect of a boatless Hudson river town is at the least confusing and at worst nonsensical.

To be sure, no one will be happy with every aspect of community life, but it is our strong feeling that life along the Hudson is, in general, much richer with an operative, vibrant boat club. To vilify while disregarding the many substantial positive contributions the CSBC makes to our community is to do a dishonest disservice to the community at large.

Charitably construed, it seems that personal interests are parading here as legitimate community concerns. It would be a shame to see the boat club dismantled because of dubious and inflammatory statements.

Mike Alayón
Quinn Chandler
Ezra Clementson
Jay Mueller
Gregg Matthews
Jeff Silverstein

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