MAMAKATING — “The mural will be nice, entertaining, and educational,” Deputy Supervisor Eileen Rogers said of the new mural contracted for Mamakating’s Environmental …
MAMAKATING — “The mural will be nice, entertaining, and educational,” Deputy Supervisor Eileen Rogers said of the new mural contracted for Mamakating’s Environmental Education Center (MEEC).
During the September 21 town board meeting, Town Supervisor Janet Lybolt announced that the board would vote on artist Kevin O’Neill’s contract to create a mural for the MEEC’s classroom.
Immediately, Councilman John Lacey announced that he did not know about the contract until the day before and did not have enough time to research the project. He also asked if the Wurtsboro Art Alliance or local school districts were approached for the project in addition to O’Neill.
Lybolt responded that the contract for the MEEC was placed on the agenda and sent out to the board members with documentation in their mailboxes on the Friday prior, the same day that the agenda goes out to the public.
Lybolt also said that the Art Alliance was approached, but this mural is not being paid for by the town. An Orange and Rockland grant is covering the cost, and O’Neill is replacing the previous artist who could not commit to the project.
Director for the MEEC, Jackie Broder, stated that the mural will be full length on a twenty-foot wall with a five-by-five-foot section on the ceiling. It will depict the Bashakill wetlands and its wildlife, Lybolt said. Rogers said she was impressed by a sample of O’Neill’s work, and she was looking forward to seeing the finished product.
Exit Closure Update
Lybolt announced that there was promising news about the proposed exit closures after the public virtual workshop held by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT).
In efforts to turn Route 17 into Interstate 86, the DOT has announced that they were planning to close exit 114 and potentially close or modify exit 115.
Peter Goodman and Matt Mordas put out petitions to send to the DOT while Lybolt went to work on gathering support from local representatives to try to stop the closures.
After the workshop on September 14, Lybolt said that it seemed that the DOT “is listening to us.”
The plans for exit 114 went from “remove” to “remove/modify,” and exit 115 went from “modify/remove” to “modify,” she said.
Lybolt announced that this was good news, but residents should still be sending comments to Mark Tiano (Mark.Tiano@dot.ny.gov) and Paul LoGallo (PaulLoGallo@dot.ny.gov), the manager and engineer, who are working on the project.
All information is also posted on mamakating.org.
Lybolt and Chris Leser thanked Goodman and Mordas for their work with the petitions. Lybolt announced that she sent 800 signatures along with letters from representatives and fire departments that were gathered within three weeks. Goodman also told the meeting that he has a change.org petition going if anyone else wants to sign. The link to sign is tinyurl.com/2m7y39zm.
Resident Chris Leser came to the podium during public comment and asked, “do we need to keep doing Zoom?”
He cited concerns about using zoom during the planning board meetings since it was often difficult for the public in the building to interact with the public joining the meeting via Zoom.
Lybolt responded that Zoom is meant to increase access to residents who are unable to come to town hall due to illness, weather or other issues. It also documents meetings for the website and is in place in case COVID forces meetings to go back to Zoom fully, she continued.
Resident Mary Allison Farley came to the podium and applauded Mamakating’s commitment to providing meetings via Zoom.
“Mamakating can be a leader in maintaining [Zoom],” she said.
Farley also encouraged Lybolt to pursue allowing residents to speak into the meeting from home.
Lybolt responded that she was working on having residents who attend meetings on Zoom be able to actively speak during the town meeting right before the meeting started. She encouraged someone from Zoom to try to make a comment to see if the board could hear anyone. Kathy Dawkins raised her hand during the meeting and said she agreed with Farley. There are many people who want Zoom, and even if comments have to be submitted instead of spoken at the meeting, residents have a right to know what is happening in their town, she said. Zoom allows the town to “protect our most vulnerable,” she continued.
Dawkins comment was low, but it was loud enough for everyone to hear. Lybolt said she would keep working on improving the Zoom public comment experience.
In addition, Lorrence Green, the chairman of the Planning Board, said he would also investigate Leser’s concerns about Zoom during the Planning Board meetings.
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