Ahoy there, G’town! Board looks to upgrade its waterfront

GERMANTOWN—The Town Board wants a grant to develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP). With that in mind the board has prepared a resolution for Monday’s Town Board meeting that authorizes Will Powers and Lindsay Ostrander of Delaware Engineering, DPC to prepare an application for an LWRP planning grant.

Mr. Powers and Ms. Ostrander attended the board’s June 15 workshop meeting to follow up on a visit that representatives of the state Department of State Office of Planning and Development made last week. The state officials looked at the town’s three water access points: the Cheviot hamlet boat dock and park, the Dales Bridge Recreation Area on the Roeliff Jansen Creek, and Lasher Park and boat dock in North Germantown.

They also visited business owners in the hamlet and saw some of the town’s historical sites.

The representatives were excited about Germantown, said Supervisor Joel Craig, and in turn Germantown was excited about the prospect of being the only town in Columbia County with a waterfront revitalization plan.

Mr. Powers, who lives in Canaan, attended the workshop meeting to discuss grant opportunities. All state funding is now applied through the Consolidated Funding Application, he explained, and that application is due at the end of July.

Mr. Powers suggested that the town apply for a study grant of $50,000. The town would have to provide a 50% match, but it doesn’t have to be cash; it can be labor, including town employees and volunteers. With that the town would put together a plan for its LWRP. If the planning grant is funded the town could apply for a construction grant in July 2016.

Mr. Powers, who previously worked at the state Department of State, called it “user friendly,” adding, “The Planning Office will work with you throughout the process.”

Board members had no trouble thinking of riverfront activities that are already a part of town life. Resident Martin Overington has organized the annual Riversweep shore cleanup for years. Councilman Donald Westmore is involved in regional kayaking activities that use the town’s water access.

The town has historic sites, such as the parsonage of the First Reformed Church, and its proximity to two state historic sites, Olana and Clermont, situate it well.

Mr. Westmore agreed to take the lead on the application for the board, working with Mr. Powers and Ms. Ostrander.

“This will lead to other things,” promised Mr. Powers. “You tell them what your vision is for your community—not Disneyland, but real, concrete projects you can do that help your community.”

The board had spent another part of the workshop discussing the state of the town’s ball fields, and councilmen realized that an overall park plan would be helpful.

The last part of the workshop was spent reviewing plans for the July Fourth Independence Day Celebration, headed up by Councilman Matthew Phelan. Mr. Phelan and Mr. Westmore agreed to add a table to the festivities at which residents of the region—3,000 people are expected—could help develop a wish list for the Germantown riverfront.

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