COPAKE—This summer will not be the same in Copake.
The Town Board voted at its June 11 meeting not to open its summer program for youngsters; not to hold its annual Music in the Park concert series on Saturday nights and not to open Copake Memorial Park for now.
During a discussion by Zoom video conference, Copake Supervisor Jeanne Mettler said that about two months ago county Department of Health Director Jack Mabb, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell (R-Stockport) and county Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Robert Lagonia (R-Austerlitz) issued a strong recommendation not to open summer day camps in Columbia County this year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo subsequently changed his mind about summer camps and said they could open under strict guidelines. But the county has maintained its position that camps should not go forward.
Supervisor Mettler noted among camp restrictions is that they can involve no contact sports, not involve more than 10 people and playgrounds must remain closed.
She also consulted with her Covid-19 Task Force—a retired nurse, a retired pharmacist and a retired Sheriff’s deputy/former fire chief—who all agreed that the town should not open summer camp.
‘We must be overly cautious, especially with children.’
Councilman Stosh Gansowski
Town of Copake
Despite how much she would prefer to allow camp to open, the supervisor said she had to support the county and task force in their recommendation.
Councilmember Terry Sullivan asked whether Ancram or Hillsdale were going to open their camps. Ms. Mettler said that in her latest conversations with Hillsdale Supervisor Peter Cipkowski and Ancram Supervisor Art Bassin, they were each still working on coming to a conclusion.
According to Supervisor Bassin’s notes from the May 21 Ancram Town Board meeting, “Ancram will not operate the kids camp and pool this summer.” He said the town will do repairs and maintenance to get the swimming pool ready for use in July should the county change its guidance and approve public use of pools. Ancram is looking at the possibility of offering an online “virtual camp” for Ancram kids, wrote Mr. Bassin.
At the Copake meeting, Ms. Mettler said she spoke briefly to Camp Director Bryan Van Tassel about the possibility of creating some kind of alternate program.
Councilman Richard Wolf said though “I feel for the kids and their families,” he thinks the town should follow the county recommendation and not open.
Councilman Stosh Gansowski noted that some states have seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. “We must be overly cautious, especially with children,” he said.
Councilmember Sullivan said having read the camp guidelines, “I can’t imagine how anyone could enforce them.”
Supervisor Mettler agreed that the guidelines are “so rigorous, they make it almost impossible to conduct camp.”
All board members voted in favor of not opening summer camp.
The board also agreed to keep the Town Park closed until further notice. Though according to guidelines, the tennis courts could be opened to singles players, the board decided “just to keep it closed.”
Music in the Park concerts suffered a similar fate. Supervisor Mettler noted that with area businesses facing hard times, some of them having been closed, it would not make sense to request contributions to support the concerts. She recognized the efforts of Chris Quinby in raising money for the concerts and the generosity of local businesses in supporting the concerts in the past. She also mentioned a $750 grant from the Bank of Greene County that has been earmarked for summer music concerts and suggested that perhaps at the end of the summer the town might be able to come up with some kind of fun community event that would meet whatever public health guidelines are in place at that time.
In other business the Town Board:
• Opened Town Hall to the public by appointment only as of June 15. The protocol for Town Hall visitors can be found at http://townofcopake.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/SUPERVISORS-MEMORANDUM-REGARDING-OPENING-OF-TOWN-HALL-June-13-2020.pdf
• Spent a long time discussing the ongoing matter of whether to issue a motor vehicle storage permit to Performance Automotive, 78 County Route 7A, an automotive repair shop, sales and storage facility that has been out of compliance with specifications for operation since the beginning of the year. The upshot was that the board gave owner/operator Michael Lindig until June 22 to comply or the town would move forward with legal procedures necessary to close down the operation.