New Paltz’s leaders feel like this could be the year that $10 million in “downtown revitalization initiative” (DRI) state funds are awarded to a Village project. DRI is one of the highly competitive methods used to distribute state aid to local governments, and until now the awards in this region have been given for projects in cities. The application is focused on the fact that much of the Town-Village property on Plattekill Avenue is going to be vacant soon, making that campus central to improvements that would benefit all Village stakeholders.
The bid would find a new site for the now-defunct New Paltz Childcare Center, which had to be closed because of problems with the building and the complexity of getting it fixed when several local governments had a stake. Village leaders are eyeing the campus at 25 Plattekill Avenue for that and much more. It’s long been a dream of both Supervisor Neil Bettez and Mayor Tim Rogers to refurbish those buildings and move most Town and Village municipal workers there. Village Hall needs a lot of work in any case, but there hasn’t been a Town Hall in years. Town workers have offices in trailers on the outskirts of town since their building had to be torn down as a mold hazard. Another focus would be to build green infrastructure systems to manage storm water runoff from that parcel, which is now allowed to flow into the “pit” property across the street. Managing what’s flowing where is also an issue with the Village’s sewer system, as there are still some extremely old mains that are cracked and allow runoff to seep in. At its worst, that has led to the treatment plant being overwhelmed by extra volume and raw sewage getting out onto the streets and eventually into the Wallkill. While consistent work on addressing those issues has been undertaken for close to 20 years, this application includes a request for funds to move that along.
Since the application begins with putting many small children near downtown, it seems right that it also include a proposal to improve the sidewalks and crosswalks and other pedestrian-related infrastructure, to promote the ease of getting around safely in the core business district.
This application was submitted last week, according to Rogers.