Recently, the movie Do the Right Thing played at Dockside Park, thanks to the Cold Spring Film Society, and the message couldn’t be clearer.
In March, I asked the Cold Spring Village Board to enforce its November 2021 lease with the Boat Club, regarding benefits for village residents. Each time I asked, the mayor repeated that the board intended to invite the Boat Club to discuss it. Finally, at the end of July, the Boat Club members showed up and laughed when asked about putting up a “clear, prominent and permanent sign at the entrance,” as required in the lease, that would include “the hours of operation, rules and regulations regarding access,” as well as the hours for free boat-launching by residents.
The board members responded by wondering aloud if they would enforce the lease. They seemed pensive about securing residents’ rights guaranteed in the lease.
Dereliction of duty is the term I would use for a board that chooses to not enforce a lease secured by a former mayor in a sweetheart deal to benefit the seven to 10 village residents who actually belong to the club and now control a large part of our waterfront. This seems odd given how quickly the board responded to a non-issue over flying a flag.
Do the right thing! Stop giving away our waterfront, especially when it prioritizes people who don’t live here.
Richard Dorritie, Cold Spring
Sure — take that away from us too!
The Boat Club lease is for 20 years at $1,000/month for the first three years and the club pays the property tax. The market rate for property is three to four times higher than the lease rate. The property is taxed at less than a quarter of its market value. In total, the village “gifted” the Boat Club $1.5 million to $2 million over the course of its lease.
Additionally, the lease clearly states that the club “shall provide access to launch into the Hudson River for the residents of Cold Spring” and “shall post a clear, prominent, and permanent sign” with “hours of operation, rules, and regulations regarding access … for both residents and non-residents.” The lease was effective Nov. 8, 2021; as of Aug. 14, there is no sign.
I agree with Mr. Dorritie: The club has a sweetheart deal, and village taxpayers are picking up the multi-million-dollar tab. Is there any reason we should not expect to see the signs posted in a week or two?