Bidding will be opened in June for construction to push the southeast corner of Hasbrouck Park out more into the intersection of Elting and Mohonk avenues. While this expansion is required to offset the loss of a small, unused portion of Moriello Park, it provides several benefits beyond complying with state law.
The decision to add municipal wells in Moriello Park was made in an effort to reduce dependence on water from the Catskill Aqueduct. While the water flowing through that aqueduct is entirely local, New York City officials are nevertheless entitled to charge money for it, and the price tag for Hudson Valley residents to obtain that Hudson Valley water has been rising even faster than inflation for a number of years. Identifying well sites that are already on municipal land significantly lowers the cost of that project, but health regulations designed to protect the water supply don’t allow for it a well to be in a public park. A certain amount of land around the well heads had to be removed from the park, but it’s toward the back of the property, in an area that wasn’t especially useful for recreation in any case. However, the laws governing parkland are also quite clear: once an area is designated a park, it can’t be recharacterized unless the same amount of land is designated parkland elsewhere. Village officials determined that the corner of Hasbrouck park across from St. Joseph’s is ideal for expansion, because there’s a lot more pavement there than is necessary for drivers to get their cars around the corner.
Mayor Tim Rogers called it a “poorly-designed intersection” that’s “a fast way to fly your car around a corner.” The asphalt hugs the rock outcropping on which the old playground once stood, creating an especially wide intersection to cross for pedestrians. The mayor said that it “doesn’t feel like it fits on a village street, especially near a park and playground.” Pushing the park out into that space will create a 90-degree turn, forcing drivers to slow down; that’s similar to what happened when a similarly auto-centric turn at the corner of Mohonk and South Chestnut was reconfigured a few years ago.
Stripping out that extra pavement will also help control storm water runoff that comes down from the college campus and the park itself, runs across the road there and down the sidewalk toward the aforementioned intersection of Mohonk and South Chestnut. Part of the redesign of that intersection was repairing catchment basins to address the extremely deep puddles that accumulated along South Chestnut due to the amount of runoff, puddles that could douse a pedestrian if a passing driver went through them with imprudent speed. Replacing asphalt next to the park with green improvements should reduce the strain on those catchment basins all the more.
Rogers pointed out that Jen Metzger was instrumental in securing the funding for this project, when still serving as a state senator. “We miss you terribly, because we don’t have any representation up in Albany right now,” Rogers said of Metzger. The mayor was referring to the fact that since New Paltz will be moved into the district where Michelle now serves when the redistricting process is complete, local officials have found that Mike Martucci has been an unresponsive representative.