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Housing still on the table for Creek Locks property

It’s a long-shot; however, Rosendale is considering a senior housing development for Creek Locks Road, on a parcel of land just outside the hamlet business district, approved for use by the Little League just last month. There might be room to accommodate both baseball and apartments. Town supervisor proposed discussions with developers, “at least to look at the possibilities of doing that.”

The issue came up at the Oct. 6th town board workshop meeting. Councilman Richard “F-Stop” Minissali, an avid sports fan, remarked, “I think it would be fabulous, the idea of senior citizens being able to watch kids play ball — the interaction between the two, it would be wonderful.” Councilwoman Manna Jo Greene added that such a dual project might contribute approximately half a million dollars towards a new town hall — while at the same time serving local sports activities.

Councilman Robert Gallagher suggested the quadruple ballfield could be scaled back to make room for additional projects. As former town supervisor, Gallagher helped obtain the Creek Locks parcel for Rosendale. A highway department salt shed will also be built on the site, bidding has already been completed. Furthermore, sewer department expansions may take place there, if grant funding is approved.

Rosendale’s 2012 tentative town budget has been drafted. “We will be holding a public hearing next month.” said town supervisor Patrick McDonough. Copies are available at the town clerk’s office. Water commissioner Jack Snyder asked at the Oct. 6th workshop meeting if expensive repair costs could be inserted for 2012, in the form of a new bond.

McDonough replied, “I’ll have more conversations with Terry [Johnson, water supt.] about concrete costs,” adding payments for the existing bond are already part of the town’s preliminary budget. Snyder warned the costs would double if water repairs are not made soon — crumbling water towers might get condemned forcing a full replacement.

The same night of the public hearing, there will be held a proposal to enact a local law to override the 2% property tax increase cap. Water district issues are part of the motivation. “That is an important tool to have in place, in case we run across things, which make it impossible for some municipalities to stay within that two percent,” said McDonough.

Town property set aside at Creek Locks Road are prevented by law from being handed over to the water district. “There’s gotta be a way around it,” complained councilman Hassett. “We received this land for nothing, it was given to the town,” he said, “it benefits the district, being adjacent to the sewer plant.”

He continued, “for us to not be able to convey that, or authorize its use, it’s wrong — it’s one of the things that’s wrong with this country. You talk about unfunded mandates and things like that, our hands are tied. It’s a small district that can’t afford the infrastructure needs.”

Hassett suggested a revolution, of sorts. “We have an opportunity here. Big Brother says ‘no’ — we either have to sell it at market value, or lease it at market value. I advocate just do it, and let Big Brother come get us. Maybe we need to stand up as municipal officials and say, ‘no, we’re going to do it our way.’”

In other business, the town will be seeking bids to place a drill a new well at the swimming pool. Next month, there will be discussion of setting a curfew for Halloween. Part of James Street will need to be blockaded with jersey barriers to prevent children from falling into the chasm. The street collapsed into Rondout Creek during the hurricane, with additional erosion in recent weeks.

Joppenberg Mountain has been acquired by Open Space Institute, according to a press release issued last Thursday. Rumors had been circulating since August. The nonprofit organization says they plan to turn the property over to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. Last spring, the town agreed to buy the land at $85,000 — but the deal fell through due to lack of municipal funds. Issues surrounding a parking lot for Main Street businesses are being hammered out behind the scenes.

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