The Tusten Town Board voted three to two to support the Solution Project and their attempt to purchase the mothballed Narrowsburg School building, and turn it into a food innovation center. Andrea Reynosa, who is spearheading the project, said it will be an education and innovation center in a partnership with SUNY Sullivan.
She said, “We’re looking at getting certification for training for food systems jobs.” She said the school would also serve as part of a food hub in connection with a larger food hub being pursued in Bloomingburg by the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency.
Reynosa said she was working with county legislator Cora Edwards in applying for a state grant, and other county legislators are supportive of the project. There has also been support from Senator John Bonacic’s office.
Tusten council members Tony Ritter, Eileen Falk and supervisor Carol Wingert voted for a resolution expressing support for the project. Council members Norman Meyer and Ned Lang said they could not vote to support the project because they did not have enough information about whether the project could be successful.
Another vote concerned sending a letter to Congressman Chris Gibson urging him to support a measure in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has already been approved by the U.S. Senate, that would provide federal funding for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC).
Lang said he does not support the DRBC in part because they have taken no action regarding the Barnes Landfill in the Town of Highland. He said, “The Barnes Landfill has been spewing hazardous waste leachate since at least 2002, which runs down to the river. DRBC has known about this for many years and refuses to do anything about it.” He continued, “I think the DRBC is nothing but a paper tiger; they don’t do their job, they’re not looking out for the people downstream.”
Lang was joined by Falk and Meyer in voting against sending the letter to Gibson.
Another issue that was discussed was the possibility that the National Park Service (NPS) would be leaving their office space within the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance building on Main Street because of reduction of the NPS budget.
Wingert said the NPS being on Main Street was “essential” to tourism in the town. Ritter described the facility as a bookstore where residents and visitors can learn about topics such as birding or canoeing. He said the town was “lucky” to have it.
Lang, on the other hand, said, “We all have to tighten our belts, and if that means that we lose a store, or a park service, or a government entity because our government is finally starting to spend less, then we all need to accept that.”