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A vision for Tusten in 20 years

This aerial view of the Town of Tusten was created by Buck Moorhead Architect.
Contributed photo

By Isabel Braverman
June 5, 2013

TOWN OF TUSTEN, NY — In a brightly lit and chilly town hall basement, a committee meets regularly every two weeks to discuss the details of a Design Master Plan for the Town of Tusten. At a recent meeting, the group sat around a small table, their heads bowed over, looking at a large map of an aerial view of Tusten with numbered sections. Number by number, the committee discussed ideas for the future of the Town of Tusten.

The committee was formed last summer, representing a diverse group of Tusten residents from all over the town and of different ages, backgrounds and employment. Some have lived here for numerous years. One of the committee’s first tasks was to hire an architect. They drafted a Request for Proposal (RFP) and hired Buck Moorhead, who owns a house in Callicoon and an architecture firm in New York City. He and the committee will continue to discuss plans until they have a committee-approved draft to present to the public.

The next step in writing a master plan is to hear from the public, and Moorhead explained that the public is being invited to answer the question, “What can Narrowsburg be 20 to 25 years from now?”

During the recent hour-long meeting, the committee discussed many possible answers to that question, hashing out ideas and ideals, and talking about the feasibility of each and how to get there. There were agreements and disagreements, as any planning group would encounter, and they checked off some of the numbered items on their list, even as it keeps growing. One could picture the original founders of Tusten having a similar meeting.

The outline of the design plan is what Moorhead calls a “living document.” It addresses many concepts, while still keeping it open to ideas and changes, and was unanimously passed by the town board last summer. It was written with regard to a comprehensive plan completed by the Town of Tusten in 2007, which incorporated the suggestions of residents in the form of a survey, public hearings and written comments.

Architect Karl Wasner, the chair of the committee, says the town-wide master plan is a short- and long-range proactive visioning plan, so that “we wind up in a better place than we are now.” The plan targets certain areas for improvement in the Tusten area, such as promoting environmental, artistic, cultural and touristic values, promoting Narrowsburg as a pedestrian (car-independent) community, developing a natural stairway at Main Street that optimizes tourist and pedestrian access to the riverfront, and more.