G’town group hopes for rink in new year

GERMANTOWN—Notwithstanding Monday evening’s rain, and outdoor temperatures in the 40s, three residents used the Town Board’s workshop meeting to talk ice-skating. They proposed citizen funding and building of a temporary, seasonal ice-skating rink in town.

Presenting were Sheila Lewis, Brandi Jornov and Susan Ludwig. During the town’s tree lighting on December 12, they set up a table next to Santa Claus and gathered more than 51 signatures from residents who agreed that the skating rink would be a great idea.

The plan is for a rink, about 30 by 80 feet, that could be assembled and dismantled with volunteer labor, likely with PVC piping and plastic sheeting.

The citizen group met Tuesday and considered several sites. The next steps are to finalize a site and design, work with town departments as needed to implement the project and formalize the committee, for fund-raising and construction. The timeline is one more group meeting this year, and fund-raising in January.

“There is a chance the rink could be ready in winter 2016 (Mother Nature permitting),” committee member Sheila Pietrzak wrote in an email Tuesday.

The committee found the town board and Brittany DuFresne, councilman-elect and chairman of the Parks Commission receptive, wrote Ms. Pietrzak.

In addition to discussing maintenance and liability, the board and residents discussed structured activities such as hockey leagues, free skating for adults and a designated toddler/child skating time or area. Safety rules would be posted. If the temporary rink works, it could be set up annually.

The group seeks input from other residents, especially on how they would most enjoy a rink. Those interested in sharing ideas or helping can comment on the Facebook page Germantown Loves Ice Skating.

In other business at the workshop meeting:

  • The board discussed the $15,000 study grant the town received through the Upstate Regional Initiative for its Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. While $50,000 had been requested, Germantown was the only town in Columbia County to receive a URI grant
  • Another grant, $5,000 from the Hudson Valley Greenway for updating the town’s Comprehensive Plan, was also less than the $10,000 requested, but since the town has a Comprehensive Plan that only needs updating, it may be enough
  • The town did not qualify for a 0% interest loan for renovations to its sewer plant. “We have to look at our options,” Supervisor Joel Craig said Tuesday. He described the options as: “a commercial loan at 4% or so, delaying the renovations or submitting again next year for a 0% loan.” The town is at the end of a 0% loan for installation of the sewer system
  • The board discussed with John Hamor of Four Corners Energy of Albany, Energy Management Advisors, the potential for community-wide solar power via a state program called Community Solar. By using remote-net metering of a central solar panel array facility, the town, library and school, plus Taconic, GTel and other business could all benefit from lower energy rates. At a meeting about the new sidewalks in January, businesses will be asked whether they would be interested in this.

The town board meets twice more this year, on Monday, December 21 for its regular meeting and on Tuesday, December 29 for its year-end meeting. The new year starts with the annual reorganization meeting on Monday, January 4. All meetings are at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 50 Palatine Park Road.

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