Purchasing a weed harvester for Esopus
The village has a chance to buy the equipment Marine Diving Service used to remove water chestnuts from the Esopus Creek last year. The owner, Zdanek “Z” Ulman, has decided to focus on his diving business, and has offered the village his harvester — a boat with equipment for pulling and transporting the weeds — along with the diving equipment and other gear for $53,000. The offer includes training for the village operators of the machine.
The cost will be split between the village and the Town of Saugerties, Mayor William Murphy said at last week’s village board meeting. Contractor John Mullen, who also has riverfront property, has offered to contribute $2,500, he added. Mullen’s offer also includes help with maintenance of the equipment; Mullen has mechanics on his payroll.
Murphy suggested the harvester could also be used to help homeowners along the creek with weed removal. As these would be taxpayers, he would not favor charging them for the service, but voluntary contributions from homeowners could help to defray the cost.
“I’m sure this would be a great addition to the village, and would help us clean up the creek,” the mayor said. While board members expressed agreement with the idea, a formal vote to buy the equipment still awaits final terms and discussions with the village’s lawyer, given the complexity of a
three-way split of the costs that includes a non-government participant.
Aesthetic requirements for chain stores
Should the Village of Saugerties require chain stores that generally conform to a national design to alter their design to fit into the feel of a historic village? Trustee Jeff Helmuth wanted to know whether the village comprehensive plan addresses the question of businesses whose design clashes with the village’s historic feel. Special projects coordinator Alex Wade said the village does have a provision that says the village should try to avoid “cookie cutter” chain store designs. “That is in there, but as we discussed, it is subject to interpretation,” Wade said.
Trustee Terry Parisian said several other villages do require corporate property owners to conform to village design. “You look at Red Hook, New Paltz, they actually changed the décor of a Dunkin’ Donuts from the traditional.” Wade pointed out that the comprehensive plan is intended to be used as the basis for the village and town to do their zoning, so with that in there, we could put something into our zoning more specific, that would create something like Hyde Park.”
In the mid-1970s, the Dutchess County town made national headlines by forcing McDonald’s to forego its famed “Golden Arches” if it wanted to open a franchise in the hometown of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Two young firefighters approved
The board voted unanimously to approve restricted membership in the Saugerties Fire Department for William White and Margaret Wade, the daughter of Fire Chief Chris Wade. The names were put forward by Trustee Brian Martin, a firefighter and former fire chief. Martin explained that restricted — junior — membership for younger members was suggested by the village’s insurance company. The restrictions include working outside a building, not inside, and similar safety considerations. The board voted unanimously to approve the appointments.
Information board on village activities proposed
The Village of Saugerties, through its government and through many community organizations, has a lot to offer residents and visitors, but they aren’t always aware of activities open to the public. The board discussed ways to provide this information, and one means was a bulletin board to hang on the Village Hall that community organizations could use to publicize their offerings.
Trustee Jeanine Mayer noted that at a focus group she attended of local organizations and churches was that people didn’t know what activities the village had to offer.
Murphy said that at a discussion he had attended recently “one of the suggestions was a bulletin board at the Reis parking lot. I was against that. But on the front of our building, next to the plate door, there’s a nice spot, under a light, and people could come in and hang their information up there.” Trustee Donald Hackett noted that the spot is close to the Boys and Girls Club, which sponsors activities.
The idea was in response to a focus group led by filmmaker Katie Cokinos that included a number of village and school district representatives.