New Paltz takes another look at building joint town/village hall

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.

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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.

There are 5 comments

  1. Einstein

    According to New York State Law, “it is not incompatible for a village mayor to simultaneously hold the position of town supervisor.” We may not be able to get rid of the town, and the village will never dissolve itself, but we could save $62,000 a year in salary by getting rid of the supervisor and having the mayor do the job.

  2. Frosty

    Building a town hall in place of the modular rentals on the same site makes the most sense. That way, when it snows they can always get plowed out by the highway department plow trucks at the same address. Where’s my $7,200? Talk to any town highway department employee, and they’ll tell you the same. The Village has to hire outside contractors to do Village street plowing anyways.

  3. Tex Cheet

    The Town Court building is a tear-down. Witness all the cracks and splits and crumble in the bricks. Its a tear down because the now two story, once one-story Village Hall pushes itself and fire department against the town court building, an independent structure downhill from the Village buildings. The Town owns the land the town court building sits on, to no consequence.

    The IDA bust Consolidated Apple Packing Plant , now a beer distribution center, was up for grabs, but nobody wanted it then, just like the bowling alley building on 299 was available back in the 1990’s. Why not buy the farm across the street from the leased police building, adjacent to the high school? Has municipal water, sewer and a bike lane now?

  4. Charley Varrick

    The vacant land that is being used for a staging area for the S. Putt corners road work next to tom’s towing has had a “for sale” on it since time immemorium? And, it’s right below the orchards. Somebody already developed the farm stand at the corner of S Putt and 32 south. That one is gone, so why I mention it? You could assess the hell out of Freihoffers, force them to move, and then buy that building in a tax sale? College Diner has a “For Sale” sign on it now, and of course, there’s always the Paradies Lane acreage somebody want’s to turn into a butterfly-factory. That will never happen.

  5. Acid Head

    What about the land next to the old Tripping Fields. After the fiasco that occurred there trying to build tax-exempt commercial lodging services on it, the project got shot down, but for some freakin’ inexplicable reason, the acreage became tax-exempt? Since all town owned property (and village properties) pays no real property taxes, the plot of land would fit right in to the New Paltz way of handling real-property assessments. Just look at who’s on the Board of Assessment Review, the Town’s Board of Assessment Review, that is.

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