Also, Cold Spring police review underway
The Cold Spring Village Board, at its Wednesday (Feb. 23) meeting, gave conditional approval to two events to be held at Mayor’s Park this summer.
Organizers must still confirm the availability of parking at the Haldane campus and provide site maps.
On July 16, Hops on the Hudson plans to host Brews with Views II, a festival featuring craft beers and ciders from New York State. Organizer John Scherer estimates 1,500 people will attend.
The Putnam County Wine and Food Fest, scheduled for Aug. 6 and 7, is expected to draw up to 500 visitors both days, according to organizer Lauren Drummond.
The village had prohibited such large scale gatherings during the height of the pandemic shutdown.
The organizers will pay the village $3,000 per day for use of the park, as well as fees to use the pavilion, use of the Highway Department garage for vendor parking and use of the park during setup and breakdown.
During the public comment period, Mayor Kathleen Foley was asked if the events benefited the village beyond the revenue they generate.
The question reflected comments by Planning Board Chair Jack Goldstein at the previous Village Board meeting, when state park representatives outlined a shoreline protection project at Dockside Park that will also include a walking trail and boat launch. Goldstein questioned if the improvements would draw more visitors to the village, which he said already faces overcrowding and parking shortages during the tourist season.
“I do have concerns about the impacts,” Foley said. “As a board, we have spent a decent amount of time talking about striking a balance.”
The mayor said recent increases in the event fees helps ensure that funds are available to maintain the park.
“We haven’t had really large events in some time,” she said. “It’s important for us to see what impact encouraging public transportation has.”
Earlier in the meeting, Foley urged event organizers to work with Metro-North to increase the number of visitors who come by train.
“There’s no question the village is crowded on weekends, and it can be very frustrating for residents,” Foley said. “It’s also an economic driver, not just for village revenues, but also for Main Street.”
The committee conducting a state-mandated review of police department policies and procedures met for the first time on Wednesday (Feb. 23). When asked if its meetings will be open to the public, the mayor said she expected the committee would discuss the issue at its first meeting.
“It is an ad hoc committee, not a standing board,” she said. “I want very much for that committee to drive its own bus.”
Foley said analysis of a 2021 survey of village residents regarding the Cold Spring Police Department will be among the committee’s first tasks, followed by recommendations to the Village Board stemming from the data.
In other business …
- The mayor was authorized to sign a renewal of the franchise agreement with Cablevision of Wappingers Falls. The agreement is not exclusive and does not prevent other cable providers from operating in the village.
- The board approved the 2021 Firefighters Record, a document that lists the hours of service by each Cold Spring Fire Co. volunteer, data required for their pensions.
- Discussion continued on a request by Jim and Lori Ely, owners of the Riverview Restaurant, to purchase a narrow, 665-square-foot strip of village-owned property adjacent to the northern edge of the restaurant’s lot line. The request was initiated but not finalized during the previous administration. Trustee Eliza Starbuck suggested, and Foley agreed, that the $4 per square foot price charged for such purchases in recent years should be reviewed.
Yes, please continue to discuss and debate that sacred piece of land just north of the Riverview Restaurant. That strip should be preserved as part of the town’s history, and the very successful Elys, who contribute so much to the commerce of the town, should never be allowed to purchase any part of it. Just think, they may ‘flip’ it at a giant profit as there is enough space for an enterprising business interest to set up a lemonade stand.