Shandaken will use grant money to upgrade parks

Town of Shandaken playgrounds will get a sprucing up this summer thanks to a nearly $30,000 Smart Growth grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). At the town board’s June 5 meeting, approval was given for the purchase of new playground equipment and picnic tables, amounting to about $12,000 from the grant.

In coming months, other provisions of the grant application will come up for approval, including landscaping for the two town entrance signs on Route 28, signage in the parks promoting the town, and installation of electrical upgrades at Smith Park in Pine Hill. Board member Faye Storms praised Marti Gailes, head of the Parks and Recreation Committee, for her diligence in keeping projects moving to maintain and update the parks.

Equipment to be purchased include a climbing tunnel or wall for Smith Park, a three-hole disc golf course set for Big Indian Park, monkey bars for Glenbrook Park on Route 42, and a spring jumper for the Parish Field in Phoenicia. Also included are several poly-covered steel benches. Town supervisor Rob Stanley said wood benches would be preferred, but they deteriorate rapidly and tend to need replacement within five years, while the steel benches last longer.


During the public comment section of the meeting, Shandaken resident Kevin Van Blarcum asked how the equipment is going to be installed. Stanley said the town usually seeks volunteers to do the installation, and said since Van Blarcum was asking, he would be recruited to help out. The young man agreed readily. “You are chair of the volunteer park equipment installation committee,” declared Stanley.

In her committee report, Gailes read a letter from Little League coach Aaron Bennett, thanking the town for its support of the Little League and soccer programs, which are flourishing and actually expanding, with two Little League teams fielded this year.


Rec program set

The Shandaken Rec Program, for school-age children who have graduated kindergarten, will start on July 11 this year, to be held Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, through August 17. The board approved a contract to allow rec program visits to Pine Hill Lake, the utilization of UCAT buses for daily transportation, and advertising for bids to hire coach buses for two field trips, to Zoom Flume and the Bronx Zoo. Applications for the rec program were mailed to all town residents on June 5 and can also be found on the town website,, under “Recreation.” The program is currently seeking summer camp counselors, with job applications also available on the website.


Completing the High Street loop

The board approved advertising for bids on projects for the Phoenicia Water System, now that a $415,000 grant has been awarded from the New York State Office of Community Renewal (OCR). “Some of these improvements have been discussed for more than two decades,” said Stanley, “especially the completion of the High Street Loop.” The loop will provide a secondary crossing over the Esopus Creek for the municipal water system. Mains attached to the Woodland Valley Bridge will ensure continuous potable water service to High Street residences if there is a catastrophic failure of the water main on either bridge, as occurred when the Bridge Street main froze and fractured two winters ago.

Another project is to buy and install a back-up pump for the filtration plant, which uses two pumps, working continuously. The original design of the plant included a third pump to relieve the workload on the other two, and to provide security in case one failed, but due to cost overruns, the back-up pump was never acquired.

A chemical storage and ventilation system will be installed, and the infiltration gallery will be cleaned of decades of accumulated silt. New equipment will allow TV inspection of the water tank supplying water to the hamlet.


Shandaken Day date moved

Stanley announced that Shandaken Day, usually held on the last Saturday of August, has been moved to August 19 this year, to avoid conflicting with the Great Catskill Mountain BBQ Fest in Fleischmanns on August 26. The highlight of last year’s Shandaken Day was the human foozball tournament, which was so popular, it will be repeated this year. Shandaken Day organizer Tina Rice is seeking nominations for the Pride of Shandaken award and for Hamlet Heroes of Big Indian and Pine Hill.


Metal pick up

Townwide metal pickup will occur over a week in mid-June. Items to be picked up should be set out by Sunday, June 18, but not before.