K’hook hears plans for new public lands

KINDERHOOK–The Town Board heard proposals for two projects in and around Volunteer Park at the regular monthly town meeting August 5. One was from the Northern Columbia Little League (NCLL) to rebuild the snack bar and storage area at the town park and the other was from the town’s Trail Committee about building lean-tos on property next to the park that the town took ownership of last year.

Last August Town Supervisor Pat Grattan announced at a board meeting that Town Attorney Andrew Howard had presented the board with the final paperwork for the town to take ownership of 77.9 acres owned by the state next to Volunteer Park. He said at another meeting that the state was granting the land to the town at no cost, though the town had to pay some closing costs. At the August 6, 2018 meeting, Mr. Grattan said of uses for the land, “We’ll get the Rec Department on it.”

At that time, Mr. Grattan also pointed out that the new property now gives the town about 100 acres of land at the park, which has baseball and softball fields, as well as basketball courts, soccer fields, a dog park and a playground.

At the August 5, 2019 meeting, the Trail Committee said the background for the acquisition of the property from the state Office of General Services (OGS) happened after the “Trail Committee inquired to OSG to seek permission to develop trails to interconnect Volunteer Park to the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail and the Ichabod Crane campus.” Committee members Mark Browne and Greg Seaman also said in their presentation to the board that they were concerned that after one year there has been no use of the property and that OGS could reconsider auctioning off the property, which is what the state originally planned to do in July of 2017.

Mr. Seaman said that one of the reasons the town acquired the land was because it would connect to the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET), a state-funded 35-mile bike and walking trail currently under construction through parts of the town. But he pointed out that there is a connecting piece of property between the trail and the town property near the park that is privately-owned and the owner, J. Waterhouse, is not happy about the state trail.

“Originally he was supportive,” said Mr. Seaman of Mr. Waterhouse, but now he said Mr. Waterhouse is worried about heavy usage of the trail near his property. “It will take time for him to get comfortable,” said Mr. Seaman of Mr. Waterhouse and the trail. That does put off plans though for connecting the town owned property to the state trail.

Mr. Seaman worried that if they did not use the land the town would lose it. So Mr. Browne said they have come up with a plan to put one to three lean-tos on the property for the local Boy Scout troops to use. They hoped to buy lean-to kits, that would cost about $8,000 each. Mr. Browne said they would write a proposal for grant money from the state. He said both he and Mr. Seaman have opened and closed out state Greenway grants in the past.

“It’s a great piece of land,” said Councilwoman Sally Hogan, who said she’d be happy to help raise funds for the lean-tos. “Why put the burden on the taxpayer” to purchase them, she asked.

She also asked about getting a topographical map for the property.

Mr. Seaman said he’s been trying to get a good map.

Mr. Browne said he was not asking the board to decide anything at the meeting but the committee would need the board’s support to apply for a grant. In the proposal presented, the committee wrote, the “current approach covering design and development of the parcel is to take incremental steps.”

“This is the beginning,” said Supervisor Grattan of the proposal and told the committee members to go to the town’s Recreation Committee for review.

“You have to take steps on everything,” said Councilwoman Patsy Leader. “Lean-tos are the last thing,” she said.

Supervisor Grattan also suggested Tom Banks, a volunteer coach for the NCLL and a local contractor, go to the Recreation Committee to discuss his proposal to rebuild the shed at the fields at volunteer park. “It’s past it’s prime,” he said of the current shed. He said he hoped to build a bigger, safer, more family friendly building for the snack bar and equipment storage. Mr. Banks said he’d talked to the town building inspector and he has “the league’s blessing.”

Mr. Grattan said that the Town Board defers to the Recreation Committee on matters at the park.

Also at the meeting:

• During the Trail Committee presentation, Mr. Browne also talked about the Kinderhook Dutch Farming Heritage Trail Run at on the trails at Lindenwald. The four-mile race is Saturday, September 28 starting at 9 a.m. Registration must be made in advance at http://kinderhookrunnersclub.com

• The board appointed Rip Noblin assessor for a six-year term. Supervisor Grattan said the town still uses the county for assessment services

• Councilwoman Leader announced that Hannafords’ pharmacy will conduct a flu, shingles, pneumonia and whooping cough vaccination clinic at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building on October 10 for senior citizens who have health insurance

• The board changed the date of its next meeting from September 2 (Labor Day) to September 9 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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