Ulster legislators study potential locations for fire training center

Moving forward on plans to construct a fire training center but responding to protests by neighbors in the Cottekill area where it was originally planned, the Ulster County Legislature has voted to appropriate $82,000 for a study of that county-owned site and several others. Other potential locations mentioned were near the old town hall in New Paltz, on vacant land in Marbletown, and in the Town of Ulster.

The vote at the May 16 meeting in Kingston was 20-1, with Rosendale legislator Manna Jo Greene opposed, “voting to represent my constituents.”

The decision to consider other sites for the $1.7 million fire training center came after strong protests from neighbors near and about the 51-acre site that borders Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge. About 50 volunteer firefighters were in attendance to support the resolution. No one spoke against the need for a fire training center.

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In other action, the legislature voted after heated debate 15-6 to table legislation that would have established county policy to protect “all persons” from discrimination. Republican opponents argued that the legislation was “legally deficient” (without offering details) and that state statute already forbade discrimination.

Legislature chairman Ken Ronk promised to work with minority Democrats to create legislation amendable to both sides for action at the June 20 regular meeting.

Because sponsors failed to meet a filing deadline, no action was taken on a resolution to establish Ulster as a “sanctuary county” The resolution will be considered in June. Ten people spoke against it, one in favor.

In other action, the legislature unanimously approved the naming of a county bridge over the Esopus in Hurley for the late corn farmer, Jack Gill.

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