Work on the Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center, adjacent to Tina Chorvas Park in Saugerties, is progressing. The complete center — a cultural park for arts and science — is years away, but the first show at the new site featuring the giant puppets and human actors is planned for August 18-22 site.
Director Patrick Wadden explained that the former industrial site, home to the historic water-powered mills of Saugerties, contains asbestos, which must be completely buried for safety, thus the thick layer of select fill — a fine gravel similar to soil but without any organic materials.
A portion of the site now has orange material covering it as protection from the asbestos contamination until the area can be covered. The performance area is on the northern part of the site. The site will eventually be covered with topsoil and planted with grass, but for this summer it will have wood chips laid over the gravel.
Long-range plans for the Tidewater Center include enclosed performance facilities, exhibit space, aquatic classrooms, a waterworks playground, fishing access, access for kayaks and artifacts from the historic mills of Saugerties.
The site work is being done by Frank Torok Excavating. Torok emigrated from Hungary at age 20 and built the business. While his sons are mainly in charge, Frank Tork Sr. continues to work in the business.