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G’town prepares for paddles ahead


Kayak rental plan intended to boost river access

GERMANTOWN—The town has two boat launches on the Hudson River, the Cheviot hamlet boat dock and park, and the Lasher Memorial Park and boat dock at the end of Anchorage Road (known as the Anchorage boat launch). Small boats can also be put into the Roeliff Jansen Creek at the Dales Bridge Recreation Area.

In March the Town Board put out a request for proposals in March seeking concessions for waterfront recreational activities. Only one proposal came in by the April 11 deadline, from A Day Away Kayak Rentals, based in Kingston. Proprietor Jesse Hicks wanted to try renting kayaks at the Anchorage boat launch, starting this season.

“He’s a dynamic young man,” said Supervisor Joel Craig at the April 26 Town Board meeting.

“He’s been doing this since he was a teenager.”

The board generally found the proposal “awesome,” voted unanimously to accept it and asked town attorney Tal Rappleyea to help them work out contract details.

What makes the Germantown waterfront attractive to a businessperson? A visit to the town’s waterfront sites on Saturday found them basic but busy. Anchorage and Cheviot are reached by crossing the railroad tracks. These grade crossings are just yards from the riverfront parks (and several homes), guarded only by red lights and wooden crossing arms that warn cars when a train is coming. There is no plan to change them, Mr. Craig said Tuesday.

Anchorage has a pleasant view across the river to the Catskill Mountains and a large parking lot that held seven empty boat trailers, a sign of an interest in fishing on a blustery day. On a busy day, the parking lot is full, and trucks park alongside the railroad tracks, Mr. Craig said, with regret.

Access to the water at both sites is by way of seasonal metal docks. At Cheviot the docks are reached by ladder-type stairs that swayed in Saturday’s wind, a nautical challenge that probably appeals to some. A man fishing alone was able to ease his boat into the water, hopping between boat and van-with-trailer until he had the boat tied to the dock and could park his van.

The view from Cheviot includes the cement plant across the river, but that did not deter several people from fishing from the shore.

The only sound at the Dales Bridge area was of songbirds. Water access wasn’t immediately visible, but Mr. Craig said it exists. The grounds are set up for picnic parties of all sizes.

On Tuesday, Mr. Craig reported that he had met Sunday with Mr. Hicks in Germantown.

“He’s revising his plans” for a more family-friendly kayaking experience that will probably take place on the lake in Palatine Park, said Mr. Craig. This setup could happen as early as June, he said.

While experienced kayakers could still rent, and spend time on the river, A Day Away would offer kayaking lessons on the lake, rather than putting kayak novices on the river.

In other summer news, the sidewalk project proceeds, if not apace, then faster than it has for 10 years.

Curbing started Monday on Palatine Park Road and continued Tuesday on Main Street to the Post Office. Because streetlights are being added in the hamlet, sidewalks will not be installed there until after Memorial Day—but before the Fourth of July, said Mr. Craig.

The path through the woods from Palatine Park to the parsonage on Maple Avenue has been completed. This is a compressed surface, not paved, which follows the trail behind the lake. “It’s now a smooth path for walking, running and bicycling,” said Mr. Craig.

In other Town Board business, the board held a special meeting May 3 to discuss the sewer plant study drafted by Delaware Engineering and to decide on one of three options presented. The board chose Option 3, Mr. Craig said Tuesday.

“This is pretty much a complete renovation of the water treatment plant,” he said. The study estimates the cost at $2.4 million.

The decision is not binding on the town, said Mr. Craig, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation wanted the town to choose one of the options in order for the DEC to proceed with its part.

The board meets next on Tuesday, May 24 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

Last month resident Ellen Jouret-Epstein urged the board to pass a resolution regarding climate change. Nine other towns in Columbia County have passed identical resolutions, she said, beginning with Hillsdale and most recently, Livingston.

“It’s not just a feel-good resolution,” said Ms. Jouret-Epstein. “Congressman Chris Gibson (R-19) was affected by it and introduced a similar resolution to the House of Representatives. It sends a message to levels of government going on up that now is the time to act on [climate change].”

Storm water issues that Columbia County has to deal with and riverfront flooding are just some of the problems associated with climate change, she said.

Mr. Craig expects the board to act on the resolution at its May 24 meeting, he said Tuesday.

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