To grow or not to grow?

Taskforce invites public to imagine hamlet’s future

COPAKE—What is your vision for the Copake hamlet?

If you live in Copake, the town’s Hamlet Revitalization Taskforce wants to hear from you during the first weekend in May.

Since its inception in August 2012, the Copake Revitalization Taskforce has been working on bringing life back to the hamlet in keeping with the town’s 2011 Comprehensive Plan. The taskforce is charged with “taking all steps necessary to revitalize and rehabilitate ‘downtown Copake’ as a mixed use, walkable, compact livable and affordable place,” according to the group’s mission statement.

So far, the taskforce has been involved in securing grants, creating brochures, organizing local events including the BikeCopake initiative and the Roe Jan Ramble and putting together the Copake Business and Services Directory.

Now, with the assistance of a professional planning firm Place Alliance and River Street Planning and Development, the taskforce presents Copake By Design, a two-day community vision and design workshop in which all Copake residents can “join together to create a vision for our hamlet.”

“We want people to have a stake in what’s happening in the hamlet—it’s our community,” taskforce Chair Roberta Roll said by phone this week.

In meeting with planners hired by the town, the taskforce came up with the idea of inviting community participation to create a community vision for the growth and revitalization of the hamlet.

The taskforce has invested much energy in writing grants to come up with funding to pay a planner to devise a hamlet plan, an essential part of the hamlet’s future and revitalization progress.

At the August 2014 Town Board meeting Ms. Roll told the board that the taskforce had secured a $5,000 grant from the Rheinstrom Hill Community Foundation and a $9,000 Hudson River Greenway grant to use toward hiring a hamlet planner.

The taskforce had been stifled in its efforts to obtain more funding up to that point due to the lack of a bona fide hamlet plan.

The cost for a hamlet planner came in at $30,000 and the town agreed to set aside $34,000 (including the $14,000 in grants) in the 2015 budget for the purpose of hiring a planner, Copake Supervisor Jeff Nayer said by phone this week.

With a hamlet planner now on board, the taskforce’s Copake By Design workshop will start Saturday, May 2 with a walk and talk hour-long tour of the hamlet with all interested scheduled to meet at the old pharmacy building at 9 a.m.

From there participants can head over to the Town Hall for some brainstorming at a Downtown Visioning Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon.

Later that evening people can drop by the Town Hall, from 7 to 9 p.m. to communicate with the planner some more and see the beginnings of a hamlet design already underway based on earlier input.

“It’s not going to be a long, drawn out process. It’s going to happen,” said Ms. Roll.

The following day, Sunday, May 3, a Community Feedback Workshop is set for 4 to 6 p.m. at Town Hall, where planners will present a design, “not set in stone,” which Ms. Roll said is meant to generate community feedback.

The plan for design and development of the hamlet will focus on:

  • How new business can be attracted
  • How existing businesses can grow and prosper
  • How housing, especially senior housing, can be brought to the community
  • How open spaces and beautiful streetscapes can enhance the downtown.

The taskforce is also offering a brief survey for completion by those interested at: More information is at

In other hamlet news at the April 9 Town Board meeting, Councilperson Jeanne Mettler said there will be a public bike ride through the hamlet with the Wheelmen in conjunction with the bicycle auction Friday, April 17 at 3 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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