Philipstown Residents' Proposals
Forum 2: August 20, 2017
In order of presentation
I would like to suggest that an exciting idea, though far from new, would be to work to make Philipstown a "Sustainable Township." We have many of the elements that promote sustainability: farms with vegetables, fruits, meat and chickens; solar installers; geography conducive to wind farm and hydro-power - think jobs! a community farm, people who are qualified to consult on conservation, economic benefits, environmental impact and much more. Developing the Sustainable Township would bring together many diverse people. Goals are to minimize our impact on the environment, live healthfully, rely less on non-renewable resources, and take pride in working together for the benefit of the township.
I propose improvements to the Philipstown Rec Center.
"Picking it up" is a concept where individuals will make a concerted effort to pick up trash on the roadways, sidewalks and in the woods of our community. We live in a very beautiful place. However, all too often when you take a walk there is trash along the path (soda and water bottles, cigarette butts, empty wrappers, etc). A public education campaign can go a long way in making a difference in cleaning up our environment. It may also motivate folks to take a walk. All it takes is a garbage bag, a pair of work gloves and motivated folks.
In the 19th century Cold Spring was a major port with much industry, incredibly skilled workers, and sloops and other river traffic calling into the port everyday. I would like to present the Cold Spring Boatyard, a shovel-ready project on the North end of the CS waterfront. It will be a major tourist attraction, a hotbed of skills for young and old, and a perfect Southern terminus for the Fjord Trail. The Finger Pier described for the Boatyard would ease the congestion. An exciting project with great benefits to Philipstown, Cold Spring, and the entire Hudson Valley.
For years, our elected officials in Philipstown have been calling on the Putnam county legislature to return a fair share of collected sales tax to Philipstown. As tourism has continued to rise, our area could really use additional funds to support various services. A Highlands Current article from 2015 reported that $2.6 million yearly in sales tax comes from Philipstown. After hearing from our elected officials at public board meetings, a short statement can be crafted for a citizen petition to Carmel to demand more dollars from the county to support and improve the impact of tourism in Philipstown.
I would like to eliminate single use polystyrene/styrofoam packaging from Philipstown. Ideally such products would be replaced with recyclable alternatives. Every single styrofoam item you have touched in your life is still intact somewhere in a landfill. Let's make like other communities across the US and ban the styrofoam!
The PCC is trying an experiment in participatory democracy: getting residents together to generate ideas and proposals to promote and preserve a strong coomunity, who will then vote on which proposals to work on. So what this PCC needs is a method for these "winning" proposals to be funded and thus implemented. That's where participatory budgeting can come in. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process where community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Tax dollars are allocated for the PB process and these funds could even be matched with matching dollars from the community.
I propose beginning a dialogue around Crypto Currency in Philipstown.
Speaking on behalf of the Committee to Save the Cold Spring Cemetery, Nelsonville Mayor Bill O’Neill appealed to the Congress to contact the Committee in an effort to support community awareness of the proposal to build a 10 story cellphone overlooking the historic Cold Spring Cemetery. The application to build was denied by the Village Building Department and a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting is slated for August 29th at 8:00 at the Philipstown Hall 238 Main Street Cold Spring. O’Neill encouraged citizens to attend to have their voices heard on this environmentally sensitive issue.
I propose building a Performing Arts Center in Philipstown where after-school classes will be offered and performances can occur.
State funding covering up to 80% of the purchase/installation of publicly accessible EV charging stations is available through NYDEC's Zero Emission Vehicles Rebate program. Installing EV charging stations is a critical step in demonstrating that electric vehicles are now a completely viable option. With the new Tesla, capable of 200 miles on one charge (or 300 with a bigger battery), many people will be tempted to make the change. But only if the infrastructure exists to support it! Please join Beacon, New Paltz, Red Hook, and others in supporting this EV lifeline!
How to act locally and think globally? How about a Sister City? Since 1956 and President Eisenhower thousands of small towns and large cities have built bridges to places worldwide. Wales, Egypt, Morocco, Mexico? Anywhere. Student exchanges and home stays, pen pals and school trips, artist, film and musical show cases, cartography workshops, police and fire chats on Skype--trivia nights at a local bar. For a tiny annual fee, Sister City International will advise on all aspects of one. The world is open to us.
Forum 1: July 27, 2017
In order of presentation
Everyone should have a right to clean water. We have recently seen problems across the river in Newburgh and then in Philipstown with potential contaminants entering the Cold Spring water supply from activities along Fishkill Road. In addition, much of Philipstown is on well water, and ground water supplies face another set of challenges, as we are seeing on Long Island. New York State is very focused on clean water issues right now, with the passage of the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, so it is a great time for communities to rally around this issue and ensure clean water for the future.
I would like to propose the creation of a teen center in Cold Spring to be jointly managed by adults and teens where teens can gather, hold dances, and events.
I suggest we encourage local govt. organizations to work towards building small town community values that are supported by Cold Spring's Main St. : 1. Encourage locals take advantage of the "walk-able community" and to ditch the car when they shop on Main St. 2. Encourage locals to shop for everyday products in small businesses on Main St. as opposed to at big box stores or online. 3. Encourage locals to take a more proactive approach to their relationships to their local, small businesses- give feedback and make requests for the services, prices, and products they want and need.
Create more opportunities for the community to gather and come together to find common ground.
New York State has established a goal to supply 50% of the state’s energy needs from renewable sources by the year 2030. In June 2017, the Town of Philipstown passed a resolution to adopt the Climate Smart Community pledge and to begin a review of our current plans to reduce Greenhouse Gases by developing strategies to increase community involvement and our climate change resilience. The first step is the creation of a Climate Smart Task Force. Please consider participating in this Task Force. A list of Climate Smart Communities is available on the DEC web-site. dec.ny.gov/energy and nyserda.ny.govproject.
Increase and maximize citizen registration and voting at all levels, but particularly local and maximize attendance and active participation in Town Board meetings, which is disappointingly low. Make efforts to increase citizens' letters to the editor of the two town publications. Explore additional ways of increasing citizen participation in the community.
I relate how the strength of any community is a function of the level of justice in it, how justice requires democracy, how democracy requires education, how an efficacious education requires, at a minimum, wealth, curiosity, morality, responsibility, and wisdom (yes, all of them). Then I speak about the pertinence of this analysis to an intellectual debate conducted in the early part of the 20th century between Walter Lippmann and John Dewey, and their allies, about how democracy in America should best be allowed to develop. I propose a renewed emphasis on education, in all forms.
This is not a proposal but an encouragement. As a board member of the Desmond-Fish Library, I want to share the findings of a series of community conversations and a community survey we have carried out in the last nine months. People in Philipstown want connection with each other - and they want their institutions to connect as well by creating partnerships. Libraries, schools, emergency services, nonprofits, businesses - we will all benefit our community by working more closely together, and that is what people are asking us to do.
I would like to propose organizing a Climate Smart Community Fair to help get out information on how we can all act together to implement the Climate Smart Community goals. I would propose we have guest speakers talking about, but not limited to, renewable energy options, ways to reduce our carbon footprint, economic impact, etc. We would also have tabling options so people can learn from local businesses and organizations. I think it would be great to get the local schools involved too.
Create a community garden in Philipstown.
In the Spring of 2001, a group of volunteers with diverse backgrounds came together in a 2 day town-wide charrette. Over the course of the next 5 years, they created a Comprehensive Plan for Philipstown which was adopted in 2006. As a member of the original group, I’d like to see the Town Board appoint a new group to continue this effort and create an updated Plan. (A copy of the 2006 Comprehensive Plan can be found on the Town of Philipstown’s website).
The State of NY has made great strides in promoting the development of descentralized, local renewable energy projects. This allows new developers to look into energy sources that are within reach but have been historically overlooked. Perhaps one of the most underrated resources is use of existing water infrastructure for the production of micro-hydroelectric power, which combines being a very un-invasive technology with a relatively high production rate.
Provide preventive and maternal health services at the former Butterfield Hospital medical center site.
To promote economic prosperity, athletic facilities could be enhanced by building an Olympic sized swimming pool and tennis courts (possibly on the grounds of the Philipstown Recreation Center?). This could bring in revenue from tourists to local restaurants and be a stimulus to shopping as well. The Philipstown community would be the primary beneficiary.
Investment in safe (off of the road) biking and walking paths throughout Philipstown to provide active transport options to the community. For example, if we had a bike path connecting to schools, libraries, the farmer's market, and to Cold Spring, we could reduce car use and children and adults could get more daily physical activity.