Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $92.8 million for various Mid-Hudson projects and initiatives from the Regional Economic Development Council Dec. 19, but Saugerties was out of the money. Projects that officials had hoped to fund with REDC grants include the repair of the dilapidated roof of the Kiwanis Ice Arena and work on Bristol Beach.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t get our projects funded,” said Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. “Over the years we’ve gotten more than a million dollars in grants, but these projects are pretty important that we asked for funding for. We’ll have to do them within our own resources now.”
Parks and Buildings Superintendent Greg Chorvas has estimated that the repair of the Ice Arena’s roof could cost upwards of $800,000-$900,000. With the help of former assemblyman Pete Lopez, the town got $100,000 for the project from the state Dormitory Authority.
“The implications of not getting the grant over the ice rink means that we’re going to have to use the resources that we set aside — we have the means to replace the roof, but we will not be able to do some of the other things we were hoping to do, like a generator. We wanted it to double as an emergency shelter [which is no longer possible,]” said Costello. “It’s a huge asset to our community and it’s our responsibility to address it.”
The Winston Farm Alliance donated $80,000 towards the establishment of trails and facilities at the Bristol Beach property. Plans for the beach include river access, a picnic area, parking for 12 vehicles, rest rooms, trails a bathhouse and a fishing area.
“We can still move forward with Bristol Beach,” said Costello. “We have been blessed by Greenway grants and the pledge by the Winston Farm Alliance … We are still going to try to create the public access to the park, we are going to install a driveway off of Route 9w to access the existing trails, but to get further than that we’ll need outside support. Unless money comes from someplace else, that will slow down the potential for progress there. It’s still our expectation and plan that in 2019, someone could drive a car to the parking area.”
Costello added that a lack of REDC funds will force the town to forego, at least for now, initial plans for handicap-accessible trails at the Bristol Beach site.