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Where the sidewalk begins

By Samantha Montagna
Posted 7/30/21

BLOOMINGBURG — The talks to construct sidewalks on Winterton Road in Bloomingburg have been ongoing for about a year now. After many meetings and discussions, an agreement has finally been …

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Where the sidewalk begins

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BLOOMINGBURG — The talks to construct sidewalks on Winterton Road in Bloomingburg have been ongoing for about a year now. After many meetings and discussions, an agreement has finally been made.

During the July 6 Mamakating town board meeting, Town Supervisor Janet Lybolt announced that another version of the Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) between Mamakating and the Village of Bloomingburg was drafted and gone over by the town, the village and the county.

Lybolt stated that “98 percent of Bloomingburg’s wishes were granted,” and she hoped the village would sign it.

One thing that all parties agreed to was the need for sidewalks in the interest of safety.

The village, town and county have been concerned about the safety of women and children who live in Chestnut Ridge and walk the road to get to the village. Commercial trucks and other vehicles often travel the road at high speeds, and many are afraid of someone being hit and killed due to the lack of sidewalks.

Since Winterton Road is a county road, an IMA needed to be drafted to allow sidewalks to be built. Recent discussions centered around the need for IMA versus annexing the road to the village. Mamakating was vehemently opposed to annexation of any kind while Bloomingburg thought that an IMA would hinder sidewalk construction.

Lybolt announced at the July 6 town board meeting, that there was a meeting that occurred between the town, the village and the county, and this meeting helped in coming to an agreement.

Highway Superintendent Rob Hufcut came to the podium and asked Lybolt why he was denied access to this meeting when he requested to be there. Hufcut also claimed that the County expected him to be there. Lybolt responded that it was a closed meeting, and she was not aware that he was expected to be there. Regardless, Lybolt explained, Hufcut was kept in the loop with the documents and proceedings.

Sullivan County Communications Director Dan Hust told the Democrat that Commissioner Ed McAndrew did have a casual conversation with Hufcut about this meeting but could not comment on his allegations against Lybolt.

Hust stated, “We have endeavored to keep all involved officials informed as this effort proceeds.”
Chaim Friedman, Village Trustee for Bloomingburg, told the Democrat that Lybolt came to Village Hall with the IMA, and Mayor Russell Wood signed it. Friedman explained that the town agreed to the village’s wishes, and he was happy that “we didn’t have to compromise on anything that would jeopardize safety,” and this was a “great accomplishment.”

Friedman explained that the turning point in the discussions for the sidewalks was the same meeting Hufcut and Lybolt referred to. Friedman stated that everyone had a representative at the meeting; legislators were in attendance as well as county attorneys, the town supervisor and the mayor and their respective attorneys. Friedman explained that the County (at the time of discussion) still had to vote on it, but it was expected that it would pass to continue the procedural portion of this project.

On July 15, the Sullivan County Legislators passed their resolution 293-21 by a 9-0 vote to give ownership and maintenance of the portion of Winterton Road in question to Mamakating and, as a result, Mamakating will allow an easement to the Village of Bloomingburg to construct the sidewalks via an IMA.

Friedman stated that it was a great day for the community, and now it is time for the practical part. It’s time for plans to be approved and construction to start.

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