The real Bob the Builders: Saugerties kids get a hands-on lesson from the DPW

Students at the Giant Steps Nursery School immediately ran to the big front-end-loader, jumped into its large scoop, and chanted “Load Us Up!” (photo by Robert Ford)

Bring together 21 three-to-five-year olds, equipment from the village of Saugerties Department of Public Works, and the men who operate the machines and you have the makings of one of the most fun learning experiences young kids can have.

Last week, Joe Schaffer of the DPW, along with some of his fellow workers and some of the guys from the town highway department, brought equipment they use as part of their jobs to show to the kids of the Giant Steps Nursery School at the Reformed Church on Main Street.


The machinery was parked in the lot alongside the Saugerties village hall. The kids were given the chance to learn what the machines are used for, and about the men that operate them.

Several years ago, the DPW used to make regular visits to Saugerties schools. Those visits ended. Schaffer is hoping to bring them back.

Of all the trucks — the wood chipper, the Bobcat, and other equipment — the favorite was the large front-end loader, which kind of looks like a bulldozer. In answer to a question from a teacher at the nursery school, workers explained the difference between a bulldozer and afront-end loader.  The bulldozer moves on treads, while the front-end loader has wheels.

The students didn’t really care about that difference. They were interested that all of them could squeeze into the scoop at the front of the front-end loader. Once inside the scoop, they began to chant “Load us up. Load us up.”

Schaffer said he hopes to bring the program to the rest of the nursery schools, and the elementary schools.


DPW finishes ADA crosswalks

Robert Fanelli, the DPW superintendent who stopped by the nursery school, said he and most of his crew were finishing up making the curbs at the intersections along Washington Avenue compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When new paving projects are proposed throughout the state, the state Department of Transportation requires all curbs at the intersections along those roads to be ADA compliant.

With the DPW preparing for a July start-up for a repaving of Washington Avenue, Fanelli and his crew did the work last week. He said money the village receives from the DOT’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) was used to pay for the material for the updated crosswalks.

The repaving of Washington Avenue is scheduled to begin July 6. It will take about a week to complete.