The Arm of the Sea Theater would like to extend its existing bulkhead northward as part of its development of the Tidewater Center, an ambitious complex consisting of an indoor theater, outdoor educational facilities, and open-air performance space and fishing sites. Funding for the shoreline work would have to come through a grant to a municipality.
The theater group has received grants for planning the complex and has cleared much of its 1.5-acre site adjacent to Tina Chorvas Park. The site, part of the industrial area on the shore of the Esopus Creek, contains the ruins of a historic paper mill north of Tina Chorvas Park.
The southern part of the site and part of Tina Chorvas Park have been stabilized. A paved walkway for fishermen has been constructed.
Patrick Wadden is proposing a partnership between Arm of the Sea and the village government. A grantswriter would be involved in the overall development of the project. The taxpayers wouldn’t pay for shoreline work.
Though the funding is a small piece of the overall funding package, Wadden said it was “the one piece a not-for-profit can’t apply for.” Arm of the Sea would be doing most of the work, but the application for this grant had to be filed by the municipality. Arm of the Sea would provide a 25 percent match, Wadden said. The organization would also oversee the construction and administer the grant.
Mayor Bill Murphy said backing the grant might “weaken the case for other grants that we are pursuing.” For example, the village would not want to jeopardize its chances for funding for a sewer project it is pursuing.
Trustee Terry Parisian said the grant being discussed would probably not conlict with other grants. A waterfront revitalization grant was different from the other grants the village is pursuing.
Wadden thanked the board for its consideration. He offered to provide a walking tour of the property.
The 1.5-acre property was at one time the site of the Sheffield paper mill, destroyed in a fire in the 1960s. Wadden discussed its history.
“At one time there was more water-powered machinery along the Esopus Creek in Saugerties than in any other place in the country,” Wadden said. The Sheffield paper mill was “pretty much deserted.” The buildings had occupied what is now Tina Chorvas Park and the adjacent property that Arm of the Sea plans to develop.
The village planning board is reviewing the plans.