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August 22, 2014
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Town of Tusten

Do you think the projected Esplanade would be of benefit to the town, and why or why not? If not, do you have any other ideas that might fit in with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan now being considered by the NY-side towns in the river corridor?

MARGARET HARRISON - Running for Town Supervisor (D/C)

No, I do not think the Esplanade plan is a benefit to the town at this time. The project at the scale that is proposed is simply too large. It will require significant amounts of financial commitment on the part of the building owners, and I don't believe this has been given the consideration necessary to move forward with a project of this nature.

In this economic environment, grant monies are drying up. This project is reliant on grant funding and could not be completed by the town without it. Aspects of the plan such as the redesigning of the deck and friendlier access to the Memorial Park could be considered, and would be in keeping with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

CAROL WINGERT (R/I/Rural Heritage) - Running for Town Supervisor

The centers of any town have always been their many “Main Streets." The Esplanade project would be a boon for all townspeople, confirming Narrowsburg again as a progressive centerpiece within Sullivan County. The board has been proactive in attaining grants to offset the planning and engineering of this plan that has roots back almost 20 years. The board should continue with this project by assessing the availability of grants and the affordability of each phase.

NED LANG - Running for Town Council (R)

I am absolutely against the taxpayers of the town of Tusten picking up the bill for the Riverwalk. This project will only benefit the businesses and store owners of Main Street. How will this project possibly help the majority of the town's taxpaying landowners that will find the cost of this project on their tax bills? If the Main Street businesses can find funding from other sources or raise the money themselves, I would definitely be willing to help bring this project to fruition; however, that is not curently the status of this project.

NORMAN MEYER - Running for Town Council (D/C)

My view of the Esplanade plan that it is a benefit to a few property owners in this town at the expense of the many. If the building owners want to improve their properties, let them pay for it themselves. It should not be at taxpayers' expense. I believe that each town on the Delaware River has completely different riverfront situations, and some do need revitalization, but not here in Tusten .

ANDREA REYNOSA - Running for Town Council (Rural Heritage)

I believe the projected Esplanade, also known as “Riverwalk," will be of benefit to the town as a primary initiative addressing the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan being considered by the New York-side towns in the river corridor.

Before moving up to Narrowsburg, I lived on the Brooklyn Waterfront in an underserved arts neighborhood next to the Navy Yard. As a member of the planning committee for the Brooklyn Bridge Park, I have seen how waterfront development can transform a neighborhood from an abandoned warehouse district into a thriving, vibrant residential community in less than 10 years.

Effective and responsible waterfront development can extend the reach of our community, and the Esplanade could be a truly effective development tool, creating new opportunities through increased tourism, jobs and environmental awareness. Tusten’s extensive Delaware River frontage is a blessed yet underutilized resource of our town.

TONY RITTER - Running for Town Council (R/C)

I am a firm believer that projects that can capitalize on our tourist-based natural resources such as the river and its related businesses should be explored to the fullest. This is not new. These are the same attributes have brought folks up to our region for over 100 years seeking relief from the crime, the crowds, the dirt and noise of the city.

During the past 17 years I have operated a fishing charter guide service on the Upper Delaware River and the majority of my clientele are from the New York City metropolitan area.

Not only do my customers enjoy the attributes that make our river valley unique, but they also enjoy what Narrowsburg has to offer – whether it be its restaurants, shops, culture, galleries – but most importantly, this region’s beauty and its proximity to New York City. Some of my clients have even liked the region so much that they have purchased property here.

Without the Upper Delaware River’s scenic beauty, I doubt that they would return to visit.

I believe that going forward, not only should the Esplanade Project be revisited, but also the property known as Fort Delaware. This property sits on NYS Route 97, has ample parking, is close to Narrowsburg and is strategically located midway between Port Jervis and Hancock on a New York State Scenic Byway.

In my opinion, this property would make a terrific visitors center.

The mission of the visitors center would be to introduce tourists to our area with interactive displays of the history of the Erie – Lackawanna Railroad, the history of the rafters, the natural wildlife of the valley, such as the American Bald Eagle, along with oral histories of some of our residents within the Upper Delaware River Valley. This visitors center could be patterned on what Alan Gerry created at the museum at Bethel Woods, but on a smaller scale.

The responsibility of the town board is to preserve the health, safety and welfare of our township.

Welfare is not only being fiscally responsible to the citizenry, but it is also being proactive in creatively seeking grants for projects such as the Esplanade and Fort Delaware that can benefit the town and its taxpayers by generating much-needed revenue.

Lastly, as a councilperson, I would advise that a committee be formed from members of the town board that would be responsible for seeking grants and working with county, state and federal agencies to that end.

J.P. LANG - Running for Town Council (D)

No response received from candidate.

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