Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

Shoreline protection is nearly complete at Dockside Park. Photo by M. Turton

Shoreline protection is nearly complete at Dockside Park. (Photo by M. Turton)

  • At the Wednesday (Sept. 21) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, Mayor Kathleen Foley previewed a joint meeting with the Planning Board scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 28. The session will consider how input will be gathered from residents and boards about the potential impact of the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail. When the trail’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement is released this fall, village officials will have 30 days to comment, she said. The plans call for Dockside Park in Cold Spring to serve as the southern entrance.
  • Barring a last-minute change, the public restrooms next to the Cold Spring Visitor Center on Main Street will be closed for the season on weekends. “I wish we had the money to keep them open every day all year,” Foley said, adding that having Highway Department staff maintain the facilities on Saturdays and Sundays is pricy because of overtime. “We’re way over budget for bathroom labor for the fiscal year, and we’re in quarter one,” she said. A worker who was being paid a lower rate for the weekend work recently quit. Volunteers from the visitor center have helped maintain the restrooms in the past and Trustee Eliza Starbuck is exploring the possibility of renewing that arrangement.
  • Shoreline protection measures at Dockside Park are all but complete. The contractor, Coyle Industries of Hopewell Junction, plans to wrap up its work by month’s end. The $1.86 million project, initiated by the state, added terraced boulders to protect the riverbank and vegetation to enhance shore protection and wildlife habitat. A walking path was added and a deteriorated boat ramp replaced. The park is owned by the state and managed by the village. 
  • Working with the Philipstown Behavioral Health Hub, the village will apply for a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley to help the Hub and the Cold Spring Police Department improve mental-health programs and resources available to the community.

5 thoughts on “Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

  1. Can someone explain this logic? There is no funding to maintain the bathroom on main by the train station. But they are putting bathrooms on the walking 7-mile project, which the state owns and the village will maintain. Where is that funding coming from? The village can’t maintain the dock or fix or take down the broken fence by the river.

  2. The ongoing problem of access to the public restrooms needs to be solved STAT.

    It’s shameful that the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce does nothing to contribute to the costs of maintaining a service that directly benefits its members and Main Street businesses. Frankly, I cannot understand the Chamber’s rationale at all.

    The cost of hiring a cleaning service to maintain the restrooms on the weekends could easily be covered if every business owner on Main Street contributed $5 per week to do so. It’s doesn’t cost much for anyone and benefits everyone.

    Since Cold Spring merchants are not charged any fee for yearly permits/licenses to do business in the village, like many other neighboring municipalities, it seems it’s the least they could do since they all benefit from the public restrooms.

    Considering that two of the Board of Trustees are Main Street business owners, it’s astonishing that they refuse to entertain the idea.

  3. There seems to be some confusion about the role of the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce. As an independent, volunteer-based organization, the chamber’s primary purpose is to service its members — overwhelmingly, small businesses and nonprofits owned and operated by people who live in Philipstown. The chamber also has a firm commitment to community service. It hosts celebrations like Cold Spring Aglow and In Bloom, sponsors public events such as Community Day and Film Society screenings, staffs the Visitors’ Center, designs and prints maps, partners with schools to connect young people with jobs, and advocates for everything from environmental sustainability to universal health care.

    One thing it does not do, and should not do, is take over functions of municipal government.

    It was the chamber’s advocacy that convinced the village to reopen the public restrooms in 2020 as a matter of public health, following a hiatus during the early stages of the pandemic shutdown. To bring this about, it agreed to temporarily assume responsibility for cleaning and restocking the restrooms on weekends when the village was unable to do so. Initially, volunteers did this work, and eventually the chamber hired a service. When that temporary agreement ended, the chamber made it clear to the village that it did not consider it appropriate for a private business organization to maintain responsibility for an essential public service, just as it would be wrong for the chamber to maintain its own police force.

    As business owners and residents, we are happy to have our taxes pay to keep the restrooms open, and hope that the village will find a permanent solution when it draws up its next budget. In the meantime, the chamber is glad to have facilitated a connection between the village, Boscobel and M&T Bank, which has led to the reopening of the restrooms.

    Mikkelson is advocacy chair for the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce.

  4. Any confusion about the public restroom issue appears to lie solely on the shoulders of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce.

    There’s no confusion at all about responsibilities Chambers of Commerce around New York and the country take on to support their local businesses and municipalities. Most establish ongoing and consistent agreements with their localities to operate and maintain public restrooms. In the Hudson Valley, the chambers of Warwick, Montgomery, Woodstock, Hudson, Rhinebeck, Saugerties, and White Plains, just to name a handful, include money in their yearly budgets to provide and maintain restrooms for public use. Most county tourism offices (except Putnam, of course) contribute funds to support comfort stations in municipalities that experience large numbers of tourists, often at the request and encouragement of local Chambers of Commerce.

    As long as I’ve been a local business owner (over 13 years) and village trustee (6 years), our local chamber’s contributions to the public restrooms have only been offered begrudgingly, inconsistently, and often not at all. The chamber claims to man the information window, but rarely is anyone actually there.

    And yet, the chamber proudly pats itself on the back for its haphazard contributions claiming so right there on its website, quoted here from the tourist information page: “RESTROOMS: There are public restrooms located at the Visitors’ Center open seven days a week from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm through the end of the year. The public restrooms are sponsored jointly by the Village and the Chamber of Commerce. Please help us keep the restrooms tidy and safe for everyone!”

    That wording would lead anyone to believe that the chamber takes its responsibility to contribute to the costs of public restrooms seriously and does so generously and consistently. It’s disingenuous to make such a statement while at the same time preposterously claiming that doing so equates to taking on a governmental role akin to managing a police department(?). This mealy-mouthed approach to public service is why, after contributing time and money to this floundering organization, I and many other local business operators choose not to maintain our memberships.

    So, which is it? Do you or don’t you? It’s a better look, and you’d achieve better support and membership if you just stepped up and made a consistent and predictable commitment to help the Village of Cold Spring operate the public restrooms. Just about everyone around here wishes you would.

  5. The Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce does a stellar job with what limited resources it has at its disposal. They have done so many things to improve the village’s image and experience for local businesses and visitors. Why berate the chamber, as Lynn Miller did in her comment, for not maintaining toilets — as if that were its chief mission and expense?

    Not all local businesses belong to the chamber, so the burden of the restrooms is borne solely by its members, despite all businesses reaping a benefit. I don’t hear any chamber members complaining about that disparity. There are portable toilets provided for tourists, but they are rarely used.