Callicoon park project stalled for now

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 10/28/20

MONTICELLO, NY — Plans for a new park in Callicoon have hit a roadblock.

A property purchase by the county that would have laid the groundwork for the new park in Callicoon was halted at …

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Callicoon park project stalled for now

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — Plans for a new park in Callicoon have hit a roadblock.

A property purchase by the county that would have laid the groundwork for the new park in Callicoon was halted at last Thursday’s legislature meeting when a vote shot it down. 

The vote was 5-2; five were in favor, but a supermajority of six was needed because the purchase of real property was involved, explained county attorney Michael McGuire. The motion failed. 

Legislators George Conklin and Nick Salomone were opposed. Legislators Ira Steingart and Luis Alvarez were not present. Alvarez had supported it in the morning’s executive committee meeting and Steingart was absent that day. 

The county needed to provide $50,000 (taken from room tax dollars) toward purchasing the former Upper Delaware Campground along the Delaware River in Callicoon. Sen. Jen Metzger had nominated the project for $100,000 in funding as a SAM (state and municipal facilities) grant from the Dormitory Authority, but the county’s contribution was needed, too.

The Dormitory Authority supports the acquisition of fixed assets, according to the resolution. 

“No,” said Salomone, explaining his opposition during the executive committee. “Because, basically, we’re putting in $50,000. So we have to maintain the park, we have to hire more people. On the one hand, we’re laying people off, and then we’re starting a new program.”

“Think about the tourism, Nick,” said legislator Nadia Rajsz. 

“It’s a good investment in the county’s future,” said Alan Sorensen. 

The county would ultimately acquire 40-plus acres of the former Upper Delaware Campground. The Trust for Public Land has worked with the state, county and town to put the project together. 

County property records show that the land was purchased by Callicoon Properties, LLC, in 2004, for $400,000. It’s currently assessed at $144,700. County attorney Michael McGuire said that it was appraised at $460,000. 

Part of the land would be purchased by the Town of Delaware to use for a wastewater treatment plant, according to the minutes of December 11, 2019. The current plant needs to be moved and other available properties are on rock ledges, which won’t work for the purpose. 

The legislature decided to revisit the resolution. “Bring it back next month,” said Joe Perrello. There doesn’t seem to be a deadline involved, county manager Josh Potosek said, but it shouldn’t sit around either. “For fear that at some point the state might rescind the authorization,” he said. 

The SAM grant will be discussed again at the Thursday, November 5 special meeting at 12:15 p.m.

In other Callicoon news, funding “not to exceed $20,000” was authorized for the Callicoon Train Depot project, spearheaded by the Callicoon Business Association. The money will come from room tax funds.

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