Bonacic brings member item to valley

By TOM KANE

NARROWSBURG, NY — Standing in full view of the Delaware River on October 3, New York State Senator John Bonacic announced a member item of $125,000 for the Upper Delaware River corridor.

Bonacic said $60,000 would be given to the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) and $65,000 would go to the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway.

Turning towards the Big Eddy vista on the clear morning, Bonacic said: “You folks live in the most beautiful place in the country.” He said he wants to do what he can to keep the area beautiful so that it attracts even more tourists.

The scenic byway organization will distribute its share to the towns that have supported it through membership, and the UDC will do the same for its member towns and townships in New York and Pennsylvania.

“This will be distributed differently from Technical Assistance Grants (TAG),” said William Douglass, UDC executive director. “Where the TAG grants were limited to planning projects, this money can be spent by towns on bricks and mortar—on infrastructure projects.”

“This grant is significant because we are bringing money to two distinct entities,” said Langdon Chapman, chief of the senator’s staff. “It’s also significant to mention that those towns that have chosen not to belong to the scenic byway or the UDC will not get about $14,000.”

After the grant announcement, Bonacic took the occasion to repeat his support for the Delaware River Valley Greenway Act, which passed the state Senate this year. The Assembly has not yet voted on the act.

“I want to see a steady income stream come to this river valley and not be something that only comes at the discretion of an individual in the form of a member item,” Bonacic said.

The proposed Delaware River Valley Greenway would be a voluntary mechanism whereby member towns would receive seed money to promote planning projects that would enhance municipal development.

Bonacic said he was optimistic that the Assembly could be called back to deal with some other pressing matters and that, if that happened, the Delaware Greenway could be easily approved at that time.

“There’s a similar greenway called the Hudson River Valley Greenway, which was started 13 years ago, where 216 towns have joined and not one has dropped out,” Bonacic said. “Over $9 million has been distributed to those towns that they would not have gotten otherwise.”

Another piece of greenway legislation—the Niagara River Valley Greenway—was just passed at the urging of Governor Pataki, Bonacic said. “I don’t see why we can’t have a third greenway here since this is a priority of the governor,” he said.

When questioned about the possibility of Pennsylvania joining the greenway, Bonacic said that he had contacted Pennsylvania Assemblyman Jerry Birmelin and Senator Charles Lemmond.

After further questioning, Bonacic said that he supported the proposed Public Transportation Bond Act for $2.9 billion, which will appear on the ballot on November 8 since it is especially needed in upstate communities. He expressed his support for recent efforts to reform school taxes and shift public education funding from property taxes to a tax on primary residence homeowners.

“I have to say that legislation is a work in progress and has to be worked on a lot more,” Bonacic said.

TRR photo by Tom Kane
Senator John Bonacic, left, announces the procurement of a member item of $125,000 on the viewing deck in Narrowsburg. Lumberland Supervisor and newly elected Sullivan County Republican Chairman John LiGreci, and Upper Delaware Scenic Byway President and Cochecton Councilman Larry Richardson were among the officials present for the October 3 announcement in Narrowsburg. (Click for larger version)