The long-discussed goal of creating a joint home for New Paltz’s town and village governmental agencies is back on the drawing board, literally as well as figuratively. Last week the Town Board gave the go-ahead to Alfandre Architecture, PC to conduct a needs analysis and to recommend next steps, including a “study of alternative solutions.”
With Dan Torres absent from the August 2 meeting and Julie Seyfert-Lillis participating via videophone, the board voted 4-0 to authorize Rick Alfandre and project manager Sam Dillehay to proceed with this preliminary phase of the project. The board members also voted to appropriate up to $7,200 to conduct the study, which will be partially based on work previously done by the local architecture firm during earlier attempts to resolve the two municipalities’ space needs.
Assessment of available existing spaces and their current utilization will include the Village Hall facilities, the Village Fire Station apparatus bays, the Town Courthouse and Annex, the Village Department of Public Works building and the facility on South Putt Corners Road leased for the use of the Police Department, referred to as the C2G building. The consultant will then “prepare an updated preliminary Space Needs Analysis/program document for co-located town and village municipal facilities.” This document will “incorporate a hierarchy of needs to establish what is ‘ideal’ and what is ‘realistic,’” presumably to enable the municipalities to move beyond the pricetag issues that stymied previous proposals to rebuild on the site of the former Town Hall at 1 Veterans’ Drive.
A visual matrix of potential facilities will be created. Based on the information collected and analyzed, the consultant will prepare an outline of next steps, likely beginning with a study of alternative solutions. Among the possibilities to be discussed is for the C2G building to be purchased outright, according to the Alfandre proposal.
Work on the new study is expected to get underway within two weeks of the vote to accept the proposal. Execution of any agreed-upon next steps would not proceed until the next phase of a contractual relationship. ++
New Paltz seeks $3.37 million TAP grant for Henry W. DuBois Drive bike lanes, sidewalks
At its August 2 meeting, the New Paltz Town Board voted to commit the municipality to a maximum local match of $674,052 as the town’s 20 percent share of a grant-funded project to “implement street enhancements to Henry W. DuBois Drive.” The decision was necessary to enable the town to request the maximum possible grant of $3,370,260 in its application to the New York State Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which is due to be submitted by August 16.
If funded, the project will create buffered one-way bicycle lanes on both sides of Henry W. DuBois Drive plus a sidewalk on the north side. This will require adding shoulders where they do not already exist along the hilly middle stretch of the roadway, between Old Mill Road and North Oakwood Terrace.
Town supervisor Neil Bettez noted that the town had applied for a TAP grant for an earlier iteration of the same project in 2014 and been turned down. Board members expressed optimism, however, that the state would likely be generous this time around, as the stretch of road is one of the few missing links in the Hudson Valley’s rapidly growing rail-trail network. “This is our best chance, because the Empire Trail is coming through,” said Bettez. According to board member Marty Irwin, there are only about five miles in the entire proposed route of the trail where cyclists are not separated from automobile traffic by a buffer, and “Henry W. DuBois is the fifth mile of those five.”
The decision to authorize the maximum expenditure of matching funds “doesn’t require us to spend the entire amount,” according to Bettez, even if the state comes through with the full level of funding for which New Paltz is eligible. The proposal was written to reflect a “gold standard” of five-foot-wide bike lanes with three-foot buffers, consistent with the Empire State Trail Design Guidelines. Bettez gave examples of potential situations in which the town might scale back on proposed changes, such as making the bike lanes or buffer narrower in some spots in order to avoid taking out obstacles like large trees or stone walls within the right-of-way. “First give us the money to pay the engineers to figure out how to do it,” he said.
The Town Board also voted to authorize submission of a proposal for a Hudson River Valley Greenway grant in the amount of $75,000 toward the Henry W. DuBois Drive enhancement project.