Like many towns nowadays, Rosendale has been struggling in recent years with the logistical and fiscal challenges of upgrading aging infrastructure. But town supervisor Jeanne Walsh has developed a knack for securing grant funding to cover most of the costs of such projects, and the community has pitched in with plenty of volunteer fundraising efforts. Reelected without opposition in November, Walsh plans to stay the course in 2016. And why not, if you’ve hit on a winning formula? At least one major infrastructure project that has taken several years to resolve — replacement of the Rosendale Pool — is on track for completion in time for next summer’s swimming season.
Supervisor Walsh gave the following responses to questions from the New Paltz Times about what her crystal ball shows for the coming year:
What is the most urgent issue that you want the town government to address as early as possible in 2016?
As supervisor, I have been focused on seeing the infrastructure in the Town of Rosendale improved. We have been working on a number of important projects, and it looks like the hard work of the last four years will be paying off in 2016.
Are there any issues that have taken up the town government’s energies in recent years that you are looking forward to putting behind you?
The Town of Rosendale is going to be very busy in 2016 completing some of the infrastructure upgrades and repairs that we have been planning or started. I am excited to see the long-awaited Rosendale Pool is expected to be ready for the summer season.
The Water District improvements have begun, with the water filtration plant rebuild started. We will be replacing the water main on Main Street this spring. The new water meters and water tower improvements will begin later in 2016.
Rosendale Town Hall will now have company in the Rondout Municipal Center with our Town of Marbletown neighbors moved in. The ARC of Ulster/Greene, the Rondout Valley Growers’ [Association] and the Food Pantry Hub all sharing space in the new municipal facility make the vision of a shared service facility a reality.
We expect to begin several additional projects in 2016. We will be improving the drainage and flooding problem in the Washington Park neighborhood. We will be improving the James Street flood control to avoid future collapse during storms, and we will create a more friendly pedestrian area along the Rondout Creek.
We will also be installing generators at both the Rondout Municipal Center and the rebuilt bathhouse at the pool. These will make the town better prepared for any future storms and will provide emergency shelter and a bathing facility for all our residents.
Do you anticipate any differences in goals, priorities or how meetings will run, based on the skill sets, personalities and fields of interest that new Town Board members bring to the table?
I welcome the input, opinion and hard work of all Town Board members. I see no reason to expect any change in how I run our meetings or the focus of the Town Board. We will continue to work to make the improvements in our town that will benefit the residents of our town.
What do you believe will be the most difficult challenge that the town is likely to face in 2016, and what needs to be done to prepare for it?
Because we are working on so many projects and infrastructure improvements, it is important that we pay close attention to all aspects of each of these projects. I have every confidence we will manage these improvements responsibly by working together with the staff and engineers.
Are there any specific opportunities coming up in 2016 that you are gearing up to take advantage of?
I think 2016 must be the year we complete some of the projects we have been working so hard to achieve, like the Rosendale Pool. So many people have contributed to this project to make it a reality, and we want to give it the attention it deserves.
By what benchmarks or feedback mechanisms do you intend to gauge your administration’s success in the coming year?
I hope by this time next year we can look back and see our accomplishments by recognizing the projects we have completed or projects that are underway.