Mohonk tulip donation
Each year, the renowned Mohonk Mountain House offers a festival, where visitors and guests can admire acres of tulips grown in Mohonk’s grand gardens. Due to the global pandemic, Mohonk was unable to welcome these visitors to the property this year, but Nina Smiley had the wonderful idea to bring the joy and beauty of the tulips to those who needed it most. She and her team harvested hundreds of tulips and brought them to Woodland Pond, the senior living community in New Paltz.
Park projects paused
The freeze on spending in Village of New Paltz government will slow but not entirely halt continuing changes in Hasbrouck Park. Leftover soil — 15 truckloads — from a project in Rosendale will be used to improve grading around the new playground and make it possible to grow grass there.
The original plans calling for the new playground in the same corner the old one had occupied, nearest to Mohonk and Elting avenues would have required heavy-duty rock drills provided through utility companies last time around. Instead, the new playground bumped the existing baseball field, and plans are to put it where the gazebo now stands, and relocate that bandstand between the playground and the new ball field.
With the potential for a substantial funding shortfall as a result of the pandemic, village officials have put an indefinite freeze on all but essential spending. Mayor Tim Rogers said that he does not expect to have clarity about the situation — including the amount of state and federal aid — until next year.
— Terence P Ward
Community solar now an easier option in New Paltz
Letters went out last week to New Paltz residents who have defaulted to receiving 100% of their electricity from renewable sources generated in New York. In it, recipients were provided information on tapping into community solar, another state energy initiative through which people without panels on their homes can buy electricity from a local solar farm and get a 10% discount off the price per kilowatt hour.
Community solar is a separate program from Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), through which town residents find themselves paying for all green energy at a slight savings if they hadn’t already chosen to pay more for power through an energy service company. Supervisor Neil Bettez signed his own home up for community solar first, and said that the only drawback is that it results in two bills: one is for the solar-generated power; the other is the Central Hudson bill for its delivery. He believes state law will be changed to put the solar on the Central Hudson bill before much longer.
What’s new is how these two programs are being run together. Residents can now approach CCA administrator Joule Community Power to arrange the community solar connection. This provides an easy way to get customers for the solar farms, customers who will save an additional 10% on their electricity power cost. For every community solar signup request received at Joule, $50 is being donated to Family of New Paltz. At the June 4 town council meeting, Bettez said that $1,000 was already promised.
There is no commitment to stick with community solar, Bettez noted.
— Terence P Ward
Virtual teen advisory board
The Gardiner Library invites teens to join its teen advisory board. The next meeting takes place virtually via Zoom this Sunday, June 14 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and continues to meet on the third Sunday of the month. Those interested in attending must contact Carolyn Thorenz at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom meeting link. Attendees receive community service hours.
Teen advisors can help with collection and program development and assist with upcoming events at the library, be part of the planning for summer 2020, including tutoring opportunities, book club discussions, virtual scavenger hunts and more. For information, visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.
Community survey results
No surprise there. A majority of the New Paltz residents who responded to a recent community survey ranked clean water and protection of habitat and natural areas as important. The New Paltz Community Preservation Plan task force conducted the survey to learn about the community’s priorities for protection of the town’s natural and historic resources.
The task force conducted the survey electronically, making it available through Facebook and the town website. In addition, 1440 randomly selected residents (about 30 percent of all households) received a postcard asking them to participate. Of the respondents, 79 percent were 34 or older and 69 percent had lived in New Paltz for more than ten years.
New Paltz residents place a great deal of importance on the town’s open space and historic resources. Clean water came out on top. A full 97% considered clean water very important or important.
“This is not surprising,” said New Paltz town supervisor Neil Bettez. “Clean water is always paramount, but awareness was heightened this spring when our supply was compromised for a short period.”
Protection of habitat and natural areas were also at the top of the list for residents. Parks and trails were very important. “New Paltz has invested in protecting open space for two decades, and today more than ever our residents can appreciate the value of access to natural areas close to home,” said Ingrid Haeckel, chair of the Environmental Conservation Board.
Working farms and scenic landscapes are intertwined in the community,” said John Gotto, chair of the Clean Water Open Space Protection Commission. Both also scored very high in the survey. “Protecting these areas provides a multitude of benefits including fresh food, clean water, scenic views and economic value,” Gotto added.
Most respondents said conserving the historic character of New Paltz was important.
The draft plan will be presented at the meeting of the town board at its June 18 meeting. It will identify New Paltz’s open space and historic preservation priorities and be a tool to help guide open space and historic preservation activities.
Gardiner Town Hall reopens
Gardiner’s town hall reopened to the public on June 8, by appointment only. Visitors must wear a mask or face covering while inside the building, maintain social-distancing guidelines and follow the health and safety instructions of town personnel. To schedule an appointment, call 255-9675.
Plug in in Gardiner
Climate Smart Gardiner has announce that Gardiner’s charging station has been installed and is fully operational. The charging station is located by the rail-trail in the Gardiner Library’s parking lot. Free electricity is available, sponsored by Cafe Mio, Gardiner Liquid Mercantile, SkyDive the Ranch and Climate Smart Gardiner.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned.
Robinson leaves New Paltz
Stuart Robinson is stepping down as SUNY New Paltz’s director of athletics, wellness and recreation and taking a new post at New York University, effective August 3. At SUNY New Paltz, he was also head coach of the men’s soccer team for 15 years and an adjunct professor of English.
Robinson has had extensive experience in expanding and innovating sports programming. His tenure was notable for the introduction of creative support programs for students.
“Stuart has left a tremendous legacy of success through winning seasons and numerous championships for our athletics teams; growth in our athletic, recreation and wellness programs; and the impressive accomplishments of our student athletes,” said Donald Christian, president of SUNY New Paltz. “I admire and respect the high standards and expectations for both athletic and academic achievement he has established for players and coaches. Stuart has been an engaged leader on campus, in the community and among his peers.”
Matt Giufre, the Hawks’ women’s volleyball coach, has been named interim athletic director for the next school year effective, August 1. New Paltz will begin a search for a permanent AD next spring. Radu Petrus, the men’s volleyball head coach, will coach the women’s volleyball squad in the fall.
Robinson also coached the New Paltz High School soccer team for eight years. He was involved with boys’ basketball for nine seasons, the last six as head coach. His final season saw the Huguenots win a third consecutive section championship.