Cold Spring Seeks ‘Responsible Tourism’

Also, summer film series plans return 

The Village of Cold Spring, the Chamber of Commerce and Putnam County are collaborating on a “responsible tourism” campaign as the busy visitor season approaches. 

Chamber President Eliza Starbuck and Putnam Tourism Director Tracey Walsh discussed the effort with the Village Board at its Tuesday (March 30) meeting. 

Starbuck later wrote in an email that the goal is to address issues that have arisen during the pandemic shutdown, such as crowded sidewalks, meals being eaten on Main Street benches due to restrictions placed on indoor dining, overflowing trash and recycling bins and inconsistent adherence to mask and social-distancing guidelines. 

poster image

An image from a poster designed by Teresa Lagerman of the Chamber that reads “Yes to views. No to trash.”

She said the campaign hopes to provide “subtle nudges” for better behavior through signs along Main Street and village walkways, in shop windows and on trash and recycling bins. They will encourage picnics in village parks, the use of trash and recycling bins and adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

The Chamber and Putnam County Tourism are sharing the cost of the campaign, she said.

Also at the March 30 meeting, Jennifer Zwarich outlined plans to relaunch the Cold Spring Film Society’s free outdoor summer series in July and August. The series did not take place in 2020 because of pandemic restrictions. 

“Our 10th anniversary season will be a welcome opportunity for the village to relax together outdoors, in a safe way,” said Zwarich, who is the society’s president. 

She said the 2021 season will include four films rather than six and that reservations, masks and social distancing will be required.

She also reported that the society plans to replace its DIY handmade screen, which has so much wear and tear it can’t be reassembled, with a durable, slightly larger commercial screen that will cost $14,000. The nonprofit is seeking donations as part of a capital campaign. 

The village co-sponsors the film series. The board was supportive of the plan but Mayor Dave Merandy cautioned that it was “keeping our eye on what’s going on in Putnam County” with the rate of COVID-19 infections. “If something does go south, we might have to cancel. There’s no guarantee.”

3 thoughts on “Cold Spring Seeks ‘Responsible Tourism’

  1. If having visitors on Main Street is thought to be too risky, why not instead go full force in the autumn, when 80 percent will have been vaccinated? You could even cancel the village stop on weekend Metro-North trains in July and August, rather than wringing hands and suffering mental anguish. The merchants may not like it, but for the health and safety of our residents, it surely makes good common sense.

  2. When I read stories like this, it reminds me why I closed my shop in Cold Spring.

    Try as they might to conceal it, the village residents have never liked all those pesky, germ-ridden businesses on Main Street. You know, the ones that provide the commercial tax base that keeps property taxes relatively low compared to neighboring towns.

    COVID-19 has given them just the rationale they needed to restrict business and tourism in ways they could only dream of in the past. Regardless of all the progress that’s been made with vaccines, testing and getting closer to herd immunity, certain people will never be satisfied.

    My prediction: Regardless of what happens in 2021, it will be the same story next year. And the year after. The restrictions will never end in the People’s Republic of Cold Spring.

  3. The businesses in Cold Spring pay zero, nil, nothing and zilch in taxes to the village. They only collect sales tax that the county shares only a very small portion of with the village. The businesses pay no fees, taxes or any remuneration to the village. Maybe it’s time they did since those tourists only benefit them and cause only an expense to the village.