Philipstown Residents' Proposals
In order of presentation
1. Clean water: 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.
2. Teen center: We would like to propose creating a Teen Center in Cold Spring. The center would be student-driven, organized and run with adult supervision and an adult advisory group on hand to help with planning and logistics. It could be on Main Street or elsewhere. There aren’t many opportunities for teenagers in Philipstown to hang out and socialize in a safe, unstructured environment. The Teen Center could be a relaxed place with comfy couches and coffee tables to hang out and socialize with friends, or just listen to music on iphones in a social setting, do homework, or play games on personal devices in a safe, no pressure environment. There could also be special events like Open Mic, Karaoke, film showings, etc.
Joe Plummer/Sandy McKelvey
3. Localize Main Street: 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.
4. Finding common ground: Create more opportunities for the community to gather and come together to find common ground. For example, create a debate series or book club for neighborly discourse between left and right.
5. Climate Smart community: 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.
6. Local civic engagement: 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.
7. Emphasize education: 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.
8. Community fair: 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.
9. Community garden: Create a community garden that is of high quality using organic methods of gardening. It would include the following: A composting center to make soil; indoor classroom to educate folks on topics ranging from soil nutrition, disease and pest management, growing starter plants, to classes on cooking and canning; a workshop to build raised beds, repair and clean equipment and support maintenance of the center; and a green house to grow seedlings.
10. Comprehensive plan: 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).
11. Local hydroelectric power: The State of NY has made great strides in promoting the development of decentralized, 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.
12. Essential care at Butterfield: Provide essential emergency care and preventive and maternal health services at the former Butterfield Hospital medical center site.
13. Biking/walking paths: 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.
14. Sustainable Township: 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.
15. Rec center improvements: I propose improvements to the Philipstown Rec Center, including enhanced athletic facilities such as tennis courts and a pool.
16. Picking it up: "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.
17. Cold Spring Boatyard: 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.
18. Sales tax distribution: 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.
19. Ban Styrofoam: 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!
20. Participatory budgeting: The PCC is trying an experiment in participatory democracy: getting residents together to generate ideas and proposals to promote and preserve a strong community, 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.
21. Ban cell tower: 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.
22. Performing arts center: I propose building a Performing Arts Center in Philipstown where after-school classes will be offered and performances can occur.
23. EV charging stations: 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!
24. Sister City: 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.
25. Wildlife-proof trash receptacles: I believe that the people who do visit little stony point are doing their part by putting trash in the receptacles available down by the beach but that the cans are not strong enough to keep the wild animals out. I bring a trash bag every time I go walking to help with the problem. What I find in addition to the beer cans and broken glass are dirty diapers and female sanitary items. This is what lead me to believe that wild animals are pulling some of these items out of the cans before the trash is picked up. I would love to get some wildlife proof cans down there to help with this problem.
26. Opt-out electricity: I’d like to propose that when a person opens a new account with Central Hudson that household be auto enrolled in a plan that uses locally sourced wind and solar energy. Currently, when a person moves into a house in Philipstown, Central Hudson (the retailer) defaults to a fossil fuel based electricity provider when enrolling that household in a power purchase agreement. What I am proposing would require Central Hudson to default to enrolling that household in a power purchase agreement with a provider of local solar and wind generated electricity.
27. Drug Czar: I propose we create an elected or appointed paid Town position of Drug Czar for Philipstown to address the epidemic and crisis in our community. This person would be in charge of focusing full attention on the crisis, supporting existing resources, mobilizing appropriate medical and rehab support, educating and communicating with families, individuals, schools and the community, with the goal to reduce drug use and addiction.
28. School consolidation: The existence of two separate school districts, Garrison and Haldane, helps to keep Philipstown divided. Historic demographic differences in the two localities have changed sufficiently to merit a serious exploration of the costs and benefits of consolidating these two school districts. Further, and more difficult, a serious look at the situation of the Philipstown residents in the Lakeland School District is merited. While differing tax rates are a serious barrier to such discussions, an in-depth examination with New York State support may provide a solution. We are all neighbors in Philipstown and we want the best education for Philipstown's children.
29. Municipal composting: Every week all of us, no matter our political leanings, take garbage from our homes to a curb, sidewalk, or end of a winding road, with the expectation that later in the day when we look again, it'll have disappeared. We all also share – whether you shop exclusively at the farmer's market, your local Tops, or the CSA – the fact that in one form or another our food comes from farms. It's at the intersection of farms and how we handle our garbage that we can find a way start to shrink our landfills and re-kindle a deeper connection to our farms. It's the effort toward municipal composting.
30. School-library path: Back in the day, Sandra Nice used to walk with her students from the Garrison School to the Library on field trips. They crossed our neighboring properties to get here and to avoid walking along 9D. I would like to propose offering the neighbors who's property is located between the library and the school an easement to create a right of way path between the school and the library and allow students to walk to the library after school.
31. Aging in Place: My concern is the absence of any kind of plan for the Senior Citizens of Philipstown. It would be useful to have a “senior census” of the town. I assume that the fire and ambulance services may have some information regarding seniors who cannot evacuate in an emergency. But that information does not speak to a number of social needs. These needs are only going to become more critical as more of our citizens live longer, and more live with dementia. The AARP has put forward the notion of “Aging in Place.” This process can be accomplished at the grass roots level with minimum cost to government.
Lynda Ann Ewen
32. Public transportation: Some form of public transportation is needed for folks without a car, for seniors and young kids without drivers licenses. We all pay taxes to Putnam County. There is bus service on the east side of the county - why don't we have it on the west side? If I am not at the meeting it will because I didn't want to pay a taxi $20 to $30 to attend this meeting and the same to return home.
33. Safe Metro-North transport: We recognize that the livelihood and well-being of many of our citizens depends on safe and reliable public transportation. We recognize that at this time and for the foreseeable future, Metro-North is our only resource for public transportation. It is in our best interest to hold the county, state and federal government accountable for providing an affordable, reliable and most of all, a safe transportation system. We will do this by requesting that the county executive make all county residents aware of when an MTA board member is up for reappointment and to show some transparency when recommending MTA Board members to the NYS Senate and to the Governor for approval.
34. Build another school: Have people forgotten the ones who live in Continental Village and pay higher property tax than those who live in the rest of Phillipstown. Why don't we build another school? Why do we still have to pay more than the rest in the county. it is not fair. So as a part of this community we ought to work something out besides just waiting for an evaluation. Please think how this small but important part of our community has been burdened with this for ages.
35. Improve road maintenance: The road issue I think is significant. One side is clear and pragmatic: dirt roads are costly for vehicles, unpleasant to drive over, and expensive. On the other hand, advocates for dirt roads cite their emotional appeal as historic, the value to property as an asset, and the practical understanding that traffic is slower and more available to bikers, walkers, etc. With all respect to the Highway Superintendent and Town Board, both groups might agree that the maintenance is deeply flawed. I would not want to go into any more "arguments;" I think it could be a path to mutual agreement IF we revisit the maintenance and expenses.
36. Rape crisis center: I had previously lived in an area that had an active rape crisis center with volunteers that took crisis phone calls 24/7, accompanied rape victims to the hospital, and did education in the junior and senior high schools. The access number to those services was publicized in libraries, grocery, doctor’s offices, and other public buildings. Moving here, I was appalled to find no such outreach in Philipstown. The only way to contact the center in Westchester is through RAIN’s website. The notion that rape does not exist in our community is a naive and dangerous one.
Lynda Ann Ewen
37. Safety and sharing: There has been an increase in bicycle traffic along 9D. This is well used road for car and some truck traffic. At the same time bicyclists are using the shoulders and at times the main roadway. We should look at ways to provide for both motor vehicles and bicyclists to safely share the roadway. The solutions might include warning signs, revisiting speed limits and road design as improvements to 9D are made over time. Bicyclists are both good for tourism and for increased health benefits to the bicyclists.
38. Sowing seeds of love: My proposal is called Sowing the Seeds of Love - it would see Philipstown residents grow gardens for the Philipstown food pantry or share a portion of an established garden bounty. There are many people who use the pantry that are trying to make ends meet what a fantastic way to open our hearts to those struggling in our community. A few years ago the church we minister at in Nelsonville The Church on the Hill felt the need to help the pantry with produce. We asked neighbors to lend us a portion of land at their homes for the church workers to plant a garden, all they needed to do was provide a water source. In no time we were underway with several kind neighbors helping the cause. This would be a great benefit to those in need in our community.
39. Ban plastic bags: Ban plastic bags from all stores in Philipstown.
40. Heroin Speaks Coalition: It is time that we, as a community, coalesce courage with audacity to speak about opioid and other drug addiction so remission can be supported. For this, I propose, "Heroin Speaks," a non-profit harm-reduction coalition, ready to curb the overdoses, which now outnumber car accident deaths, as well as deaths during the height of then AIDS epidemic. We can save lives, and encourage more people to come forward and ask for help. We need to give the "devil drug" its voice, so we can locate it, and squash it. Thank you all, let's tear the stigma down and save some lives.