TUSTEN – A proposed public pavilion in the Flats neighborhood of Narrowsburg has brought out much discussion between the Town Board and a handful of residents over the past week, with two …
TUSTEN – A proposed public pavilion in the Flats neighborhood of Narrowsburg has brought out much discussion between the Town Board and a handful of residents over the past week, with two recessed meetings and numerous public comments.
To open the recessed meeting on Wednesday, August 23, Town Board member and Deputy Town Supervisor Jane Luchsinger gave an overview presentation on the status of the project since receiving feedback during their regular meeting on August 8.
According to Luchsinger, the pavilion, which was originally slated to be 30 by 50 feet in size, was shrunk down to 20 by 24 feet, but has now been increased to 24 by 30 feet following revisions from members of the Tusten Parks Committee, which consists of Luchsinger, Town Supervisor Ben Johnson, Harvey Weissman, Greta Knutzen and Town Clerk Crystal Weston.
Due to the pavilion’s designation as a public “place of assembly,” Town Attorney Ken Klein advised Johnson and the rest of the board that public bathrooms must be included in the blueprint for the project.
According to a discussion between Luchsinger and New York State Division of Building Standards and Codes, the project would have temporary bathrooms while the town decides what to do moving forward.
While displeased with the notable size increase, a number of residents took up a greater issue against the bathrooms, which were previously understood to be nixed from the design.
Multiple options for the bathrooms were discussed, including the option of incorporating the bathrooms into the existing plan, and building a separate structure for the bathrooms with flood vents.
Other concerns from the public against the project included:
Over-commercialization of a residential neighborhood
Increased traffic in addition to existing traffic caused by AirBnb’s and unregistered ATV’s
Transparency regarding the project from the board
Insurance and other liabilities that come with the town renting out the pavilion
The taxpayer cost and manpower of maintenance and upkeep that would be required
Some members of the public were pro-pavilion however, stating that frequent visits to the park render a quick exit due to a need for shade. Some went on to explain that they wished for a local park to allow their children and families to enjoy the outdoors.
On Wednesday, Town Board member Kevin McDonough noted that the Sullivan 180 grant of a matching $20,000 would require the project to be completed by October 1, leaving less than 40 days to achieve this goal. Supervisor Johnson noted that grant could become supplemental, and that the project should move forward regardless.
McDonough was unconvinced and stated his disapproval for the project, with one of his reasons citing the need to create and pay a whole new department within the town government to maintain the park and its proposed amenities.
Johnson noted that the park would need to be maintained just as Town Hall does currently.
Due to the absence of Board Member Bruce Gettel on Wednesday, the board had reached a split vote, with Johnson and Luchsinger voting to move forward with the project, and McDonough and Board Member Greg Triggs voting against it.
As discussion between the town and its residents continue to shape the future of the pavilion, the next step forward would be the bidding process. The town is preparing to put the project out to bid, and is expected to open the bid offers on Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Board Workshop.
If applicable, a business will be selected. However, before any bids are to be accepted, the Tusten Parks Committee is expected to produce and present to the Town Board a list of policies and procedures for the pavilion that will act as a guide for the operations of the structure.
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