GERMANTOWN—The winter of 2016 brought ice skating back to town. With help from the town Highway Department and maintenance staff, town volunteers organized ice skating on a poured rink under the pavilion in Palatine Park. This year, ice skating is again scheduled once temperatures are low enough to freeze water.
And this year may, possibly, bring Hudson River Air Dogs, described as a “canine athletic sports club” to town.
At the Town Board’s December 13 workshop meeting, Supervisor Joel Craig and Councilwoman Brittany DuFresne heard a pitch from Steve Bimbo, president of Hudson River Air Dogs, and several club members in the audience. The club promotes and conducts dock-jumping events for dogs under the rules of Ultimate Air Dogs.
Dogs jump, one at a time, off a 38 x 8 foot travel dock into a 40 x 20 splash pool (with a filter). In photos from the events, dogs appear to be happy doing this. Those present who had seen such events (at the Dutchess County Fair, for example), including Ms. DuFresne, expressed great enthusiasm for them.
Hudson River Air Dogs is looking for a permanent home for its pool, dock and a 10 x 20-foot “concession style” shed. The club seeks a site of 1 to 2 acres with parking for 50 cars, space for 10 x 10-foot pop-up tents for daytime shelters and space for campers and RVs, although Mr. Bimbo stressed there would be no overnight camping at the site. Participants would camp elsewhere and park their rigs at the end of the event.
The club would provide its own “Little League style” bleachers and contract for portable toilets and trash pick-up. It would need a source of water and of electricity.
Between April and October the club holds two-day (weekend) events open to the public. Membership is not required to participate. Most who attend are competitors, said Mr. Bimbo, but “more people are coming now to watch, with their kids and their dog.”
The club does not sell food, said Mr. Bimbo. Members cook up hamburgers and hot dogs, and others provide potluck sides.
During the week club members would have reserved time at the dock on a rotating basis.
The club was incorporated as a 501(C)7 not-for-profit in January 2015. It has elected officers, a board of directors, bylaws and a full set of event and site policies, including “strict leash and poop patrol policies.” It is fully insured with a $2 million policy.
The club began with 14 founding members and has grown to 57 memberships (121 people, 118 dogs) covering five states.
Discussion turned to a site near the town’s Little League field, which is “cleared but rough,” said Mr. Craig.
“No matter where we go, we would expect to do site work,” said Mr. Bimbo.
Mr. Craig said he would need to check with the town’s attorney and insurance carrier. A week later, Mr. Craig said he had made no progress on that.
Ms. DuFresne said that as she drives around town, she keeps an eye out for a site for Hudson River Air Dogs.
Also at the workshop meeting, Mr. Craig and Ms. DuFresne heard updates from the Local Waterfront Review Program Committee, Comprehensive Plan Review Committee and Mary Beth Bianconi, senior project manager at Delaware Engineering about the proposed sewer project. But as Ms. Bianconi said, none of them could compete with dog dock-jumping.
In other business:
• At its December 20 regular meeting, the Town Board approved paying $19,600 to Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., engineers for a cost overrun on the sidewalk project completed last fall. “The original engineering was so old,” said Supervisor Craig about the project that had gone on for a decade, that GPI did additional services and changes. Overall, Mr. Craig added, the sidewalk project should come in under its $1.2 million budget
• The board also approved the purchase of two Taser weapons for the town’s Police Department at a cost of about $1,500 each, to replace two Tasers that were over 10 years old
• Highway Superintendent Richard Jennings would like the board to update and simplify the town’s parking law so that in winter snows cars cannot be parked on streets and roads. Current law requires the highway superintendent to declare a snow emergency before that can happen
• Announced Saturday, January 14 at 10 a.m. for the second public visioning session for the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee. The public is encouraged to attend
• At its November 22 meeting the Town Board appointed Timothy J. Otty to fill a vacancy on the town Planning Board and Larry Saulpaugh to the Columbia County Planning Board
• As of year’s end, there was still one vacancy each on the Board of Assessment Review and the Office of Aging Advisory Committee.