Community Day May Close Part of Main Street

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Fireworks and festival planned in Cold Spring for Labor Day weekend 

The early plans for Cold Spring’s Community Day scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3, call for closing two blocks of Main Street for four hours starting at 4 p.m. 

Jill Golden, chair of the Community Day Committee, told the Village Board at its Wednesday (July 27) meeting that its idea “was to think of something that would really unite old Cold Spring with new Cold Spring.”

Golden, accompanied by committee members Angela Ghiozzi and Catherine Lim, added that, when speaking to community members, they heard people recount “much-appreciated, old-fashioned block parties.”

The blocks between Fair and Church streets would become a pedestrian mall, with a focus on activities for children, including face painting, jump-rope and hula-hoop contests, ring toss and cornhole, as well as a DJ and dancing. 

“We want the two blocks to be safe for kids, for them to play in the street,” Ghiozzi said. “We want parents to feel their children are safe.”

Shops and restaurants will be invited to put out tables for sampling, tastings and sales. 

The riverfront bandstand will feature live music from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., followed by the traditional fireworks show. Because Dockside Park is under construction, the fireworks barge will anchor in the river opposite the bandstand, permitting better viewing from the lower village and upper Main Street.

When closing Main Street was considered in the past, including as a means of dealing with weekend crowds after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan was abandoned because of the need to allow vehicular access to the lower village, including homes, the Metro-North platform and the riverfront. 

Because Community Day would close only two blocks, Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke of the Cold Spring Police Department said traffic will be able to access the lower village by traveling north on High Street, west on Northern Avenue and south on Fair Street to Main. 

Burke said steps will also be taken to ensure the Cold Spring Fire Co. has access to its firehouse and parking. In addition, he said, Main Street activities will allow access, if necessary. 

Garden Street will be closed to incoming traffic during the street fair, but residents parked on the street will be able to leave via Northern Avenue.  

Burke said signs will be posted along Main Street between Fair and Church, advising owners that their vehicles must be removed during the fair or be towed. 

Four or five extra officers will be on duty, in addition to the usual one-person patrol, he said. 

A portion of Mayor’s Park will be available for residents’ parking. Visitors will have access to free parking at the Metro-North lot. 

Concerns

Trustee Eliza Starbuck voiced concern over the event’s timing.

“It sounds like a lot of fun, a lot of really good ideas,” she said. “I am concerned about doing something like this on a Saturday and on a holiday weekend, when Main Street has the highest volume of tourists.”

She questioned if a large number of visitors would take away from the community feel of the event for residents. 

Nat Prentice, president of the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce, said the merchants he spoke with “were not particularly enthusiastic about this idea.”

“This [event] has been talked about in concept,” said Mayor Kathleen Foley. “This is the first big conversation we’re having about it; if you have feedback, now is the time.”

Foley said the event is a great opportunity for merchants and suggested that the chamber members meet with the Community Day Committee. 

Starbuck, who serves as liaison with the chamber, supported that idea because shopkeepers “are having discomfort and anticipation over losing one of the best holiday Saturdays of the year.” 

Erin Murphy, chair of the chamber’s Main Street Business Committee, suggested that the Community Day Committee go door-to-door to bring business owners up to date on the event, many of whom she said were not aware of what is being planned. 

Golden said the committee plans to do that on Saturday. 

“It’s a big undertaking and, of course, it’s nerve-wracking,” Foley said. “I am in support of the event. I have hesitations, but I also think it can be amazing,”

The board, with Trustee Laura Bozzi absent, voted 4-0 in support of the Community Day plan.

In other business…

  • Foley and Starbuck recently attended a meeting of the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail’s Parking and Shuttle Committee. The potential impact on traffic in the village “is still not part of their thinking,” Starbuck said. “We need to be counted and reviewed like the midpoints of the trail.” 
  • Josh Hadden, treasurer for the Cold Spring Boat Club, which leases its riverfront property from the village, said the club is being challenged by repairs to its 125-foot bulkhead. A new steel bulkhead will cost $1,300 per linear foot, he said, so the club is considering rip-rap and concrete. He said that in 2021, the club hosted 456 boats with 1,373 people aboard. Full memberships cost $2,205 and associate or social memberships are $370.  
  • Repairs in the pedestrian tunnel continue with assistance from Metro-North. Sealant has been injected into the walls to prevent leaking and an artist has been contacted about painting the walls.
  • The village plans to submit a letter of intent to participate in NY Forward, a $100 million grant program aimed at rural and smaller communities. Each of the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils will have the option of recommending two communities for $4.5 million NY Forward awards or three communities, one of which would receive $4.5 million with two that would receive $2.25 million.
  • The village plans to submit a list of capital projects for potential funding through the office of Sandy Galef, whose Assembly districts includes Cold Spring.
  • The board set aside a request from the owner of 37 Fair St. to purchase a small strip of village-owned land, pending a site visit. The former Impellittiere Motors building on the site is being repurposed as an art studio and living space.
  • The village will enter into an agreement with the Town of Kent to complete work on the Northern Avenue culvert.
  • The annual Church Street block party was approved for Sunday, Sept. 4.

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