Saxtons River Park project debated at Village Meeting

Tuesday April 9, 2013

SAXTONS RIVER - Concerns over a potential park took up the bulk of public conversation at the 2013 Annual Village Meeting held at Saxtons River Elementary School on Monday.

The village has hired Scott Wunderle, a landscape architect who owns Terrigenous in Chester, and Paula Green of Landscape Architects to design a park for the former Sandri building site and adjacent village-owned property. As part of Article 1, voters heard a report from the Saxtons River Park Committee.

The estimated cost of the project is $670,000 and Ryan Ostebo, the meeting moderator and a member of the park committee, wanted to address why. He told the roughly 30 voters in the audience that remediation of contaminated soil and legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 result in a higher cost.

He said lead paints and other contaminants were absorbed into the soil when the Sandri building burned down and contamination remediation is expensive but necessary "for ourselves, our children and for future generations."

The current fundraising outline predicts the project to be financed by $344,000 in government grants (including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), $80,000 in private foundation and corporation grants, $186,000 from solicitation, $50,000 from volunteer labor and $10,000 from the village.

Some voters expressed displeasure with the park, insisting that constructing a new fire station should take priority. Jim McCaffrey was one of the residents to say he wishes the energy put into the park project had been put into searching for a way to build a new fire station.

When it came to Article 3 (to approve a village budget of $50,150), a motion was made to add $2,044 to it for a fundraising consultant, printing and postage and for the capital reserve. The voice vote was so close that voters were asked to raise their hands to indicate their approval or opposition. The amendment failed, as the vote was 15-15.

However, the budget of $50,150 was passed separately.

David Moore also gave a report of the fire station committee. He said the group has been looking for a new piece of land for a fire station and has investigated possible locations. But, he said, none have been suitable for the needs of the fire department and now the committee is looking at the space that holds the current station.

Moore said one problem with using the current land is there is no place to store equipment while a new station is being built.

Louise Luring, Tim Clark and Matthew Brennan were unanimously re-elected to their seats on the village Board of Trustees. Clark was also re-elected as village clerk and Bill Harmon won another term as treasurer/tax collector. Jim McCaffrey was re-elected as one of the two auditors and Chuck Ratte was chosen to replace Moore, who stepped down from the role.

All voting was conducted from the floor.

Domenic Poli can be reached at; or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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