Minutes from the AGM
April 3, 1998

The first official meeting of the "Friends of Beaverkill Community" was held on Saturday, April 3, 1998 at 4:00 p.m. at the home of Patricia and John Adams.

In attendance were: Duke Wiser, Kate Adams, Wayne Sorce, Seth Sternberg, Judy Rosen, Jane Sokolow, Roger and Debbie Lynker, Mary Hall, David Barnes, Stu Root, Les Mattis, Judith Katz, Mike Teitler, Tim and Bebe Loizeaux, Phil Perrone, Mia Wilkenson, Mike Loizeaux, Elizabeth Hamerstrom, Mac Francis, Sue Brotherton, Don Jaeckel, Pat Enger, Stuart and Bea Brown, Jack and Maddy Obecney, Julie and Don Allen, George Fielder, Patricia and John Adams.

The meeting was called to order by Patricia Adams at 4:00p.m. The minutes of the organizational meeting and the steering committee meeting were read. The chairman asked that the name "Friends of Beaverkill Community" and the mission statement proposed by the steering committee be adopted. It was so done unanimously. The recommendation of the steering committee to assess $ 25. per household dues was discussed and approved, too. Patricia will talk to the treasurer Barbara Trelstad about opening a bank account and Kate Adams will investigate the not-for-profit status.

Campsite Committee:
The first order of business was the discussion of the campsite and the progress to date. On Monday, March 30, 1998 the DEC and Trout Unlimited held a joint press conference at the campsite to announce a two year stream restoration agreement. Subject to Legislative approval, $125,000 will be spent for habitat restoration of key spawning tributaries, $500,000 will be sought by the DEC for 1999 to continue restoration and $275,000 will be spent for improvements to the Beaverkill Campsite. John Cahill, Commissioner of the DEC said the focus would be on fishing and stream restoration. The campsite improvements would include cutting down the number of campsites along the river (making each a little more private), taking down one of the old bath houses and improving the picnic and beach areas.

Handicap access to fishing would be added. Judy Rosen raised the concern that perhaps the campsite would be too fishing oriented and that local people would not feel comfortable picnicking and swimming there. John Adams said that while the state has no intention of hiring a lifeguard and officially recognizing swimming at the campsite, because of the liability, it was his understanding that they wouldn't prohibit it either. There was lively discussion regarding this topic. Concerns raised included designation of swimming area vs. fishing area. If there is no demarcation, would conflicts arise? The DEC agreed to try to have more supervision on The picnic area of the campsite. This concern was left unresolved but John Adams said that local residents working in the DEC like Ed VanPut and Gerald Barnhart know the importance of the swimming and would work to see that it is not prohibited. Mr. Cahill also said that the gravel pit area near the Beaverkill Church might be sectioned off and used as a parking area for hunters. Pat Enger and Kate Adams, immediate neighbors of this area were concerned about this but were told that this area is under the jurisdiction of another branch of the DEC and John Cahill was not able to discuss that issue. Someone else at the DEC needs to be contacted. John Adams said he would make known the concerns of the neighbors. Judy was also concerned that cutting down the number of campsites would limit it's use but Patricia said that the campsite has only been 1/3 full for the past few years. Roger Lynker added that, having worked there as a young man, he agreed that fewer campsites would make a better camping experience for campers and agreed that it rarely ever filled up. John Adams said that his committee would stay in touch with Mr. Cahill as the project progressed and offer input where possible.  

Castle and Gate Committee:
Julie Allen reported that the Masons were allegedly talking to a company in NY who wanted to make the castle a sportsmen's bed and breakfast. They were looking for funding. She said that the Masons were independent and wanted no interference in their decisions. Her committee is however, in communication with them and has offered support. Progress is slow and she will report any further progress. There is little that can be done since this is privately owned property.

Covered Bridge Committee:
Jack Obecney reported on a conference call that he had had and read from a letter of reply he received from Sullivan County Dept. of Public Works Commissioned Peter Linholt. The commissioner said that the county would be willing to move the "goal posts" back further from the bridge and cover them with timbers so that they were less unsightly but that they were the only deterrent to illegal traffic. They would also remove some of the signs on and around the bridge. The idea of a third bridge was again discussed but with no answers of when or where it might happen. Mr. Linholt recommended setting up a task force of local and county people to discuss these issues. Roger Lynker said that the posts are not only unsightly but dangerous as well. During the winter several people have reported sliding and nearly hitting them, he included. Moving them further uphill on the Ragin Road side would make this even more dangerous, especially for those residents using the Ragin Road and having to make that sharp turn. He suggested dropping the siding on the ends of the bridge to a height just high enough to allow the ambulance to pass, but not trucks, with the lower boards being designed to break away, with no structural damage to the bridge, if someone accidentally hit it. It was clarified that this is not the same thing as a swinging board hung above the entrance. Several people agreed with Roger and a motion was made by Kate Adams to have Jack go back to Mr. Linholt and ask if this idea might not be tried. Jane Sokolow said that the committee should talk to people regarding other covered bridge projects to see what they have done about this problem. Mac Francis seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Church Committee:
Stuart Root reported on the facts gathered since the organizational meeting. He had the following estimate: The cost of painting the building - $ 4200.00 the cost of repairing the siding - $ 2765. The contractor agreed to come back after one year to touch it up and said the job would be good for 8 - 10 years. If the shutters were to be redone the cost would be an additional $ 3000. ($500. per shutter - 6 shutters) Bebe added that the Trustees of the church already had an estimate of $ 10,000 for vinyl siding for the church and the life expectancy was 20 or 30 years. She added that this committee could make a recommendation but that the final decision was the Boards and she had concerns about leaving the church in debt and in need of repairs in the next decade for her successor. She would like some assurance that this group was in this for the long term. Not just fix it up and forget it. She did request that the committee move quickly if it wanted to make a recommendation to the Trustees because the final decision must be made by the end of June. She also requested that Dean Construction, the contractor slated to do the vinyl siding be given a chance to bid on the paintwork as well. She has been working with him on other projects and thinks that it is only fair. Stuart agreed to get his bid as well. The church committee will meet again on May 2, 1998 at 4:00 p.m. at Stuart Root's home. Bebe cannot attend but Tim will attend in her absence.

Iron Bridge Committee:
Mary Hall reported that the bridge was built in 1906 and that she has corresponded with County DPW Commissioner Peter Linholt but has not yet received a reply. She said that her committee does not yet have a clear direction because they don't know what the county has in store for the bridge.

According to Robert Trotta the county's chief engineer, they are not yet sure what they will be doing, but he doesn't like the idea of historic preservation. Roger Lynker raised concerns about the safety aspects of the bridge and said as a fire chief he would like to see it replaced. Mary said that her committee may agree that replacement is the best option but if it is the committee might want some input regarding its replacement. She isn't sure if it can or should be historically preserved or if it is updated if it would necessarily be the same. She received an application from Kathleen LaFranc of the State Historic Preservation Committee with several ways that historic preservation might be approached. (Individual structures, properties, groups) Perhaps this committee should join with the covered bridge committee if we decide to investigate historic designation. There was much discussion about joining the two bridge committees since they both have the same county contacts and historic designation is a concept for both. After lengthy exchange it was decided to keep the committees separate but that they would have a joint meeting and discuss ways that they might work together. The reasoning was that the goal posts at the covered bridge are short-term project but the iron bridge is a long-term project and we didn't want to jeopardize one project by confusing it with another. Perhaps in the future they may merge.

Throughout each committee report the problem of the unrepaired erosion of the Craigie Clair Road kept coming up. Since it is not covered by any of the existing committees it was passed over as each chairman made his/her report. Near the conclusion of Mary's report it was suggested that the two bridge committees be combined into an infrastructure committee and include this project as well since it too deals with County DPW officials. The group decided that this was not a good idea but perhaps a separate Infrastructure committee be formed. Stuart Brown (at the conclusion of the meeting) agreed to chair this committee. Stuart has been involved in a taxpayers' group already investigating this problem with Town and County DPW officials. It was recommended that this committee should be comprised of local residents of the area and fishermen who are concerned about stream disturbances from any repair work undertaken. Stuart reported that the county engineer's decision is to blast out the bank to widen the road rather than try to add fill to the riverside. He will investigate further. Anyone interested can sign up for this committee.

Chairman Patricia Adams encouraged everyone to participate in any and all committee meetings that they felt compelled to attend. If anyone has any ideas for a logo for the group, contact Patricia. The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m. with no date set for the next meeting. Patricia will notify people.

Respectfully submitted,

Judy Rosen, Secretary



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