Shandaken beautifies Big Indian

A scene from a previous Shandaken Day in Big Indian Park. This year’s event will move
to the Catskill Interpretive Center. (Photo by Violet Snow)

The Big Indian Beautification Committee has raised over $20,000 to put up a gazebo for free concerts in Big Indian Park, committee member and park manager John Michelotti told the Shandaken town board at its July 9 meeting. Plans are underway to place the 16-foot bandstand in the northeast corner of the park, where it will be visible from the highway, for security reasons, and out of the flood-prone area.

“We attract people from all over,” said Michelotti. “We’d like to have something for the local people.” The opening on Labor Day weekend will include free hot dogs provided by the fire department.”


Shandaken Recreation Committee Chair Marti Gailes said Big Indian has had a beautification committee for ten years. It has organized roadside trash pickups and the setting of planters with flowers in the hamlet. This year, when requests for funding for a bandstand went out to the community, the response was enthusiastic. The Beautification Committee received $4900 in cash contributions, added to $3000 already saved up. In 1997, when the Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and towns in the city watershed, each park received $10,000, of which Big Indian Park still has $4700 remaining. The committee is drawing $4000 from that fund. The Belleayre Music Conservatory does not plan to continue its summer concerts at the ski area and gave $5000 toward construction of the gazebo and hiring of local bands. Jay Jacobs of Timber Lake Camp donated $6000, for a total of $22,900.

Gailes commented, “Lots of us have wonderful ideas. John says, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Shandaken Day at CIC

Town Supervisor Rob Stanley said Shandaken Day, held for several years at Big Indian Park, will be moved this year to the Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC), on Route 28 at the eastern end of town. “Vendors have been dwindling,” he explained. “People don’t walk around with cash in their pockets any more. We need WiFi so they can use credit cards.”

This year’s celebration, to be held Saturday, August 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will highlight the eastern hamlets of Mount Tremper and Mount Pleasant, so the CIC location will be appropriate. Depending on the turnout, the spot will be considered for following years. The event includes bands, crafts, food, beer from Keegan Ales, kids’ games, and a human foosball tournament. Tina Rice, who organized previous Shandaken Days, is resigning and will be replaced by Cara Grant. Vendors interested in participating should contact the town hall.

In other town board news:

Town board member Kevin Van Blarcum said he and Stanley consulted with a designer on plans for the Pine Hill skate park. They nixed the designer’s idea for an urban theme, requesting a park that represents mountains and boulders, similar to a style the designer had recently carried out in Bar Harbor, Maine. Once a design has been made up, the town will start applying for grants to fund the construction. “It’s easier to get funding when you show them a picture,” said Van Blarcum.

Mary Lou Stapleton of the Shandaken Museum board reported a tally of 25 visitors to the museum over the past month. Among them was Jennifer Powell, who located a great-great-great-grandfather, William Short. Director Kathleen Myers helps with genealogical research and information on the history of town buildings, including a number of requests from the Jewish community.

The museum, located in Pine Hill, has requested the town’s help with repairs so the board can apply for a New York State charter, which will enable it to obtain 501c3 non-profit status, in turn making it eligible for grants.

A tipi was recently set up outside the museum, under the direction of Frank Stapleton, and work is proceeding on a wigwam. The structures will be used for Native American education programs.

Stanley said there have been problems with the turns from side roads onto the new Route 28 bridge in Big Indian. The Creekside Road entrance will be closed for two weeks while the New York State Department of Transportation realigns the approach. The difficulties entering from Oliverea Road are expected to be addressed by moving some street signs. The intersection should be finalized and fully open by the end of July.

Phoenicia Water Commissioner Rick Ricciardella complained about motorists driving too fast in the 30 mph zone at the east end of Main Street, going past the water plant. Police chief Chad Storey assured him that the problem is being addressed, with multiple tickets issued over the past couple of weeks. Drivers have also been ticketed at the intersection of Bridge and Main for failing to use directional signals. Motorists, beware.