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December 05, 2016
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Narrowsburg waterfront revitalization project unveiled; residents mostly express support

The proposed River Walk in Narrowsburg features a much enlarged Veterans Park with a new shelter and extended overlook areas. There is also a linear park with a walkway running from Veterans Park, under the bridge that crosses the Upper Delaware River, and back up to an expanded deck on Main Street. Two sets of ramps and steps would give pedestrians access to the linear park and walkway.

However, 16 of the 20 speakers expressed unreserved support for the project. Joe Levine, an architect who assisted with the design, said the project “would provide everyone in Narrowsburg and the region with their own piece of riverfront property.” He then said that the fact that it has to be maintained should not be a reason to not enthusiastically support it. He also said that the three owners of the private property are willing to grant their property to a public use, and that might not be the case in the future.

Helen Budrock, the community planner for Sullivan Renaissance, said the organization supports the project because, “Community parks not only provide aesthetic, recreational benefits to communities, but they also are a source of positive economic benefits as well. The development of downtown parks and trails, such as this proposed project, has proven in other communities to enhance property values, increase municipal revenues.”

Laurie Ramie, executive director of the Upper Delaware Council, said she supports the plan. She said, “This is a great way to promote public access to the river, which is a great component of the River Management Plan, which we uphold.”

Stephen Stuart, in his capacity as a member of the Narrowsburg Fire Department, said the private buildings in question represented perhaps the greatest fire danger in the town because of limited access. He said the project would allow access to the rear of the buildings should an emergency occur, and he also said standpipes should be included in the project to aid with firefighting efforts.

The project has been under consideration by town officials on and off for at least 20 years, and raising the money to pay for it remains a challenge. The estimated range of cost is anywhere from $1 million to $2.5 million, depending on choices made, such as the addition of a public rest room.

Supervisor Carol Wingert has said that local taxpayer money will not be used to pay for any of the construction. And several people connected with the project have said that significant grant money and other funding is available for this type of project.