Youth program gets village funds and pays village fees

CHATHAM–The Village Board approved the Morris Memorial Association’s request last week to close Park Row for the annual Ray Barbuti Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The fee for closing the street will be $550.

Village Police Chief Peter Volkmann, who was at the board’s regular meeting November 9, said he would put the call out to members of the part-time force to find officers available to work during the event. Chief Volkmann said he had told representatives from the Morris about the fee to close the street for the race.

Fees for closing local streets are new this year. In May, the board adopted fees for closing Main Street and Park Row, as well as for using space at the Tracy Memorial Village Hall, and for using the village owned parking lots next the Tracy and at Depot Square, and the gazebo.

When they set the fees, members of the board said that state law prohibited the use of village property without a fee. Mayor Tom Curran said at the May 25 meeting when the fees were set, “The village cannot gift taxpayer services.” The fees are intended to cover the cost of extra hours for police officers and for setup and cleanup by the village Department of Public Works.

The Turkey Trot is now in its 41st year, according to the Morris Memorial, a non-profit origination that runs several programs in the Morris Memorial building on Park Row as well as a soccer program at Crellin Park and a basketball program in the Morris and at the Chatham Middle School.

The Village Board budgets $10,500 annually to help fund the association, which also receives funding from the Town of Ghent, the county Youth Bureau and several local funders like the Chatham Lions Club and T-Backer Fund. The association has also received grants from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation and the United Way of Columbia and Greene Counties.

At the November meeting Village Clerk Debra Meyers read a letter from Morris Memorial Executive Director Mike West informing the board of the programs at the building and asking for funds that the village donates each year.

The Turkey Trot will start on Park Row and use Main Street, Kinderhook Street, Shore Road, Easton Avenue, Woodbridge Avenue and School Road for the three-mile race and the one mile kids run and community walk. The entry fee is $2 and a non-perishable food item to be donated to the Chatham Area Silent Food Pantry. Information about the race is at www.morrismemorial.com.

Chief Volkmann said he would work on staffing the police for the race, but since Chatham is a part-time force, he said he can’t require officers to work on Thanksgiving.

Also at the meeting:

• The DPW will continue curbside leaf removal until December 1, weather permitting, according to the DPW’s Phil Genovese. “But if it snows, all bets are off,” Mr. Genovese told the board

• The village has sent letters to residents who have not responded to requests to schedule replacement of their broken water meters. Mr. Genovese said there are 14 meters left to be replaced

• Linda Gibson, the volunteer who maintained the village garden in the traffic circle, has retired. Mayor Curran said the board needed to think about whether or not to budget funds for upkeep of the garden next year.

The next board meeting will be December 14 at 7 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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