Notes from the Saugerties Village Board: Of the beach and the bluestone


Weeds on the Esopus Creek. (Photo by David Gordon)

Director of the village recreation and buildings and grounds department George Terpening reported that the village beach was well used in this hot weather. There were about 100 people there last weekend, he said.
The growing milfoil and water chestnuts invasions have prompted complaints from beachgoers, he said. “We at one time had discussions about a harvester as one way to try to keep the weeds at bay, and I haven’t heard any more about what we’re going to be doing. People have suggested using chemicals to try to suppress the growth. I’m looking for some suggestions, and some answers, to how to deal with this problem.”

Trustees agreed that chemicals can cause more problems than they solve. Councilman Terry Parisian said that chemicals used in Sullivan County “killed all the fish, it killed everything, and it created a whole lot of havoc.”

Mayor Bill Murphy said he would try to borrow the Town of Esopus’s harvester, though trustee Jeannine Mayer noted that town had refused an earlier request because of possible insurance problems. Trustee Don Hackett reminded the board that he found that a harvester cost about $78,000. “Seventy-eight thousand, you have a harvester, and you can use it, you can rent it out,” said Hackett. “That’s all I have to say about it.” Hackett had earlier offered to have an acquaintance from another town demonstrate his harvester, but he has been busy working on his own property and has not had time to do it.


“Looking out across the creek you’ll see various shades of green, one of them being the lily pads, one being the water chestnuts, and one being the milfoil,” Terpening said.

At one time motorboats were commonly used on the creek, and their higher speeds and motors helped keep the weeds down. Motorboats disturb the water all the way to the bottom, preventing the weeds from taking root. However, motorboats were banned some years ago because of pollution and noise.
Mayer suggested that it might make sense to offer limited days to motorboat owners who wanted to use their boats on the Esopus.

Hackett reminded his fellow trustees that he had raised the issue of buying a weed-cutter in January. “I said, Let’s not sit here in July having a discussion about water chestnuts, but here we are.” At the time Hackett had listed several items of equipment that cost more than a harvester did, and suggested that the purchases could be held up for a year, freeing the money for the machine.

Special projects coordinator Alex Wade said he had heard that a town on the Erie Canal had declared a community day, when everybody came out to pull the weeds on the canal. “Since we don’t have a harvester, and are not likely to be getting one, maybe we should organize something like that,” he said. Would it be a good idea to try that in Saugerties?

Kayaker parking lot

Kayakers are not allowed to drive down to the kayak launch area in Tina Chorvas Park in the village. George Terpening told the board that he was considering ways to keep kayakers from driving across the lawn and seating areas to get to the launch site. “It’s supposed to be, park in the parking lot and carry your kayaks down. I think we’ll put some bollards in with some nautical rope or something along those lines to try to keep the people out,” he said.

DOT region hassles John Mullen

Although the village board in Saugerties approved replacing the bluestone on sidewalks along Main Street some time ago, John Mullen, the low bidder on the job, has been unable to begin work because the officials at the New York State Department of Transportation Region 8 refuse to recognize his credentials, special projects coordinator Alex Wade reported. “Mullen is apparently listed with the state, and approved, but for some reason we can’t get Region 8 to agree with that,” he said.
There is a different procedure for getting Mullen on the job, and “we are going to try that,” Wade said. The board had agreed to reduce the scope of the work to bring the cost down. Wade was not at liberty to give the board the cost estimate until the DOT reviewed it.

(Photo by Robert Ford)

Bluestone too expensive?

Some business owners have complained about a historical review board member’s insistence that replaced sidewalks in the business district needs to be bluestone. The material is much more expensive than concrete and, business owners say.
It can be hazardous, as stones can lift and cause a tripping hazard, trustee Terry Parisian said. “It is the building owner’s responsibility to maintain the sidewalk after it is put in place. As we all know, bluestone is tremendously expensive.”

One of the board members did some research on grants, and for most of the grants the head agency needs to be the municipality, Parisian said. “The business owners wanted to know whether the village would agree to be the lead agency in securing any of these grants. I couldn’t make that decision, so I thought I would bring it to the board.”

If federal grants were involved, the ADA (the federal Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements had to be met. They’re so unreasonable, Wade said. Would this be the case if we were dealing with one business and one owner? “If we do anything that’s federally funded, yes we do,” Wade responded. “If it’s from a private foundation, not at all.”

Business owners reject bluestone because of its cost, Parisian said. Quality bluestone can cost up to three times the cost of concrete. The person who did the research on the possibility of grant money didn’t want to start working on it until he knew the village government was willing to act as lead agency. There was no resolution on the question at the Monday meeting.