G’town gathers by the river on Earth Day

GERMANTOWN—A riverfront rally is set for Sunday, April 22 from noon to 2 p.m. at Lasher Memorial Park. Members of Germantown’s Waterfront Advisory Committee are organizing the rally as part of a response to Amtrak’s proposal to install gates and fencing that may restrict access to stretches of the Hudson River shoreline between existing crossings.

Parking at Lasher Park is limited. Attendees should plan to park at Palatine Park, on Palatine Park Road off Route 9G. Shuttle busses will ferry people to Lasher Park beginning at 11:15 a.m.

Those interested in volunteering for the rally can contact Martin Overington by emailing moc.l1544434832iamg@1544434832eetti1544434832mmoct1544434832norfr1544434832etawn1544434832wotna1544434832mreg1544434832. The Committee is encouraging other affected and non-affected communities to hold parallel Earth Day rallies. The Village of Castleton-on-Hudson is coordinating with the Germantown committee to hold a rally at the locked gates to their park on the same day.

Germantown’s Lasher Memorial Park, site of the planned April 22 riverfront rally, was formerly known as the Anchorage, and home to this historic marina building. The building no longer exists; the land is now a park, named for Ernest R. Lasher Jr. (1948-1970), who died in battle in Vietnam. Photo contributed

Amtrak’s proposal for the waterfront owned by CSX, under review until May 1 by the state Department of State, does not appear to close existing vehicular crossings. It does appear to restrict access to all sections of the riverside access road north and south of the town’s existing crossings at Lasher Park (formerly known as the Anchorage) and Cheviot Park. Amtrak’s proposal can be viewed at http://on.ny.gov/2FUOEdG.

Those stretches have for many years been active with fishing enthusiasts, bird-watchers, dog-walkers, joggers and walkers. Also, a 700-foot fence parallel to the tracks and along the terminus of Germantown’s Lower Main Street would seek to block river access at an unofficial crossing to an area of shore that has been busy with recreational activity dating back at least 105 years.

New gates and fencing are also proposed in Stuyvesant, Stockport, Tivoli, Rhinebeck and Rhinecliff. Locked gates already prohibit access to Castleton-on-Hudson’s public riverfront park.

The town’s Waterfront Advisory Committee was appointed by the Town Board in 2016. This month the Committee concluded an 18-month study of the town’s waterfront resources, options for revitalization and potential sustainable solutions for access along the town’s shores, based on three well-attended public visioning sessions.

The Committee’s study, funded by a grant from the NYS Department of State, can be viewed at germantownny.org.

The Committee proposes that representatives from Amtrak or CSX email committee members at moc.l1544434832iamg@1544434832eetti1544434832mmoct1544434832norfr1544434832etawn1544434832wotna1544434832mreg1544434832 to explore a more sustainable solution that would achieve safe and continued river access.

The Committee has proposed an exploration of whether the town could acquire excess lands to create a linear path along the shore between Cheviot and Lasher parks, with a possible pedestrian bridge to ensure safe access at Lower Main Street.

The Committee continues a letter-writing campaign. The public comment period for Amtrak’s proposal began March 14 and was initially scheduled to continue for two weeks. Thanks to many comment letters and strong support from local leaders, the comment period has been extended to May 1, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. Those seeking more information on the proposal, the rally and more, should visit gatesgate.org.

The Committee has released its first comment letter and its first report citing its research over the past 18 months and exploring the potential impacts of Amtrak’s proposal. These materials can be found at gatesgate.org.

Those looking to comment to the Department of State on the Amtrak proposal can email vog.y1544434832n.sod1544434832@rc1544434832 using the subject line “F-2018-0060.” They are encouraged to copy ten.l1544434832etg@s1544434832etag1544434832 on their comment email so that Germantown has a record of comments.

Comments by postal mail can be sent to NYS Department of State, CR F-2018-0060, Office of Planning, Development & Community Infrastructure, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12231. Duplicate comments are requested to Amtrak Gates Comments, Town Hall, 50 Palatine Park Road, Germantown, NY 12526, so that the town has a record.

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