Finding new home’s no walk in park for rescue squad

KINDERHOOK–Several residents attending the Town Board meeting this week said they oppose having the Valatie Rescue Squad (VRS) move its home base to Volunteer Park.

At last month’s town board meeting, representatives from VRS asked the town to give the squad about four acres in the town park to use for a new building for their ambulances and equipment. At that meeting held March 9, Town Attorney Andrew Howard said that there were issues with the park land on Stare Farm Road, which would need to be resolved before the board could discuss giving the land to the squad. He said then that the town bought the land from the state and the sale included a “reverter clause” that the state could take back the property if the town did not use the land as a park.

At the Monday, April 13 meeting, Mr. Howard said he has contacted the state but has not received a response about whether state officials would permit use of the land by the rescue squad.

Town resident Bob Clark told the Town Board that it would be “would be ill advised to give up park land,” adding, “You’ll never get it back.”

Marcia Anderson read a statement to the board that also stressed the need to keep town parkland and not have it used for other purposes. “The Town of Kinderhook has inadequate parkland now for recreational use of its residents and the carte blanch lessening of current town parkland is disturbing and illegal,” she said.

Ms. Anderson also said there would be risks if ambulances and emergency vehicles drive in and out of the park, which is used for several children’s sports programs throughout the year. “There is a safety issue involving the exit and entrance of rescue vehicles… in a residential area,” she said.

The VRS is currently housed on Route 9 between the Villages of Valatie and Kinderhook. The squad serves the town and surrounding area. All the residents who spoke against the VRS moving to the land at the town park also talked about what an important service the squad provides. Resident Ed Simonsen called squad members an “outstanding group” and said that they needed the best possible place to relocate. “I don’t think the site that’s proposed meets that criteria,” he said.

Other park safety at the park were also on the agenda Monday. Town Supervisor Pat Grattan told the board he is soliciting bids to put cameras in the park to deal with vandalism.

Ms. Anderson suggested putting speed bumps along the road in the park. But Councilwoman Patsy Leader said the board had looked into speeds bumps and found that they are costly. Mr. Howard pointed out that people may drive around them, causing a greater safely issue.

“I don’t know what it’s going to cost or how we’re going to pay for it,” Mr. Grattan said of the cameras.

Ms. Leader said that have been issues with cars driving on the fields at night in the park and repairs are an expense to the taxpayers of the town. “We need to respect it,” she said of the park.

Also at the April 13 meeting:

  • Katherine Caradine was appointed recreation director for this summer. She was appointed deputy town clerk last month
  • Mr. Leader announced that Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, which is jointly owned by the town and Village of Valatie, will close at 10 p.m. every night. Groups using the building, other than the town and village, must be out by that time. She asked all group leaders who use the building to shut off the lights, make sure the doors are locked and not allow children to run in the hallways. “We are going to set up some rules,” she said. Use of the building is free for community groups that apply for and receive permission from both the town and the village to use a room
  • Mr. Grattan said the board will solicit bids for brush and leaf pick up and composting. Currently the town Highway Department picks up bagged leaves and brush in front of residents’ houses. In the town and the Village of Valatie the service is free from now until June 1 and then again in the fall. They do not pick up in the Village of Kinderhook.

“I dare to say it costs the town $100,000 a year for brush and left for pick-up,” the supervisor said. The board will determine whether having a private company take over collection and disposal will save money.

The board will hold a special meeting April 22 at 6:30 p.m. to appoint a new Planning Board member. The next regular board meeting will be Monday, May 11 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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