Mayor Cautions Against Butterfield “Community Center”

Plus, Cold Spring recycling gets costly

By Michael Turton

Cold Spring Mayor Dave Merandy spoke out strongly against the possibility of the senior center planned for the Butterfield development also serving as a community center, asserting at the Feb. 27 meeting of the Village Board that it would violate Planning Board approvals for the project.

Barbara Scuccimarra, who represents Philipstown on the Putnam County Legislature, has suggested naming the facility, which is still under construction, the Julia L. Butterfield Senior/Community Center. But she said County Executive MaryEllen Odell wanted input from seniors and local officials.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Bob Flaherty, who is a member of the Philipstown Town Board, said the board had been asked for its input. Asked if county officials have also contacted the village, Merandy replied, “Not that I know of.”

“I just want to remind everyone that the [Butterfield] approvals were based on it being a senior center,” Merandy said “It was very specific.”

Merandy said concerns about expanding the scope of the center were first raised in April 2016, when developer Paul Guillaro moved the senior center from Building No. 2 to the Lahey Pavilion, where there was less parking. The remedy proposed by county officials at the time, the mayor said, was a pledge to provide busing for any senior who wanted to go to the center, thus reducing the number of parking spaces required and on-site traffic on the site.

“If the county believes that they can turn this into a community center, there is going to be a problem,” Merandy said. “Before people name it a community center they should come and talk to the Village Board and the Planning Board.”

On Thursday, Scuccimarra said that Odell sent a letter to the Town of Philipstown and others requesting input, but that Cold Spring was inadvertently excluded. “It was an oversight,” she said.

“Part of my mission is to bring more county services to Cold Spring,” Scuccimarra said, adding that she hopes that when seniors are not using the new facility, other services such as the DMV and services for women can be offered. “That’s what I meant by ‘community center,’ ” she said. “It would not be hordes of people and cars, and it would only be when seniors are not using the building.”

Recycling gets costly

The cost of disposing of Cold Spring’s recyclables has jumped from zero to $43.18 per ton.

Deputy Mayor Marie Early said the village received notice of the increase on Feb. 1 from ReCommunity, the Beacon-based recycling company. Several years ago, the village received a small amount of revenue for recyclables. More recently it has been a no-cost service.

“The problem is that China is no longer purchasing recyclables, so there’s no market for them,” Early said. The new pricing will cost the village about $10,000 annually, based on current volume.

Highway changes

Two members of the Highway Department — Crew Chief Charlie Norton and laborer Zach Langer — are leaving after taking jobs elsewhere. Trustees appointed Robert Downey Jr. as interim crew chief. Resolving staffing at the Highway Department may depend on whether garbage collection is privatized, which the board is considering. Highway workers spend two days each week on pickup.

Merandy said the department needs at least three workers and so applications for a laborer are being accepted. The mayor said the village could contract with Royal Carting for pickup, with the cost borne by taxes, or residents could contract with the company individually, something he feels “would not go over well.”

Once Royal provides a proposal, the issue will be discussed at a public meeting. Merandy said the company has suggested the village would receive a favorable rate because collection is concentrated over a small area.

2 thoughts on “Mayor Cautions Against Butterfield “Community Center”

  1. Apparently, Mayor Dave Merandy is not yet satisfied that he has already thrown enough sticks into the spokes of the wheels of Butterfield Follies, in particular doing anything and everything he can to thwart the efforts to bring to fruition a new senior center to Cold Spring and the immediate surrounding area.

    While I acknowledge life in this Revolutionary War zone has vital historical significance, Merandy’s continued insistence to do anything and everything he can in fighting to the last, might be meritorious for George Washington in battle times but merely is kicking sand in the face of every local senior in the current day.

    Merandy and his battalions already have, from the start, turned the model of a state-of-the-art senior center — yes, with many bells and whistles — into a waiting room for the nearby doctors’ offices, with one donated couch and several torn copies of National Geographic circa 1982 for the elderly to read while mulling end-of-life issues.

    His latest is quibbling over the naming of the center, with his reminder that nobody under the age of 65 is welcome. He already has brought about the question of whether he, and his legions, care at all about the lives of those above the age of 65 in Cold Spring by his over-the-top histrionics in attempting to abort the senior center project.

    I would have thought a very narrow loss in the last mayoral election to a total neophyte, in a last-minute run for a more righteous cause and a mayoral seat, might have awoken Merandy to tell him he can stop beating that dead horse and become more sensitive to seniors’ needs and more conciliatory overall.

    Seniors now see that nothing at all has changed, and it’s the same old Merandy and his same old hand puppets. Our voices will be heard loud and clear in coming elections. After that, we can be found making repairs on the sparse number of donated items for the senior center, instead of that sparkling new and vastly improved place that was initially earmarked for the space. If nothing else, we seniors are a resilient bunch, and can and will make do with a hotplate, instead of a six burner Viking stove, as we share family recipes, in the pitiful place that “coulda been a contender” in Architectural Digest and Interior Design as the preeminent senior center in New York state, indeed the country had not Merandy and Co. made it such a tough row to hoe.

  2. Generally speaking, there is a legitimate need for, and a clear shortage of, quality and healthy community space, if it fact it is community space available to the community at large, and not controlled by special interests or subject of political football, in and near and walkable to the village of Cold Spring and within easy access of other relevant locations..

    And any multi-purpose and multi-functional space will be more versatile and more cost efficient than single purpose and single use.