FYI... from a Beaconite
post I read tonight.
The future of the University Settlement Camp is in serious jeopardy. Regressive forces have convinced Council persons Eleanor Thompson, Randy Casale and Deanna Leake that we should turn the camp over to the state. Council person Marlene Fredericks is undecided. Council person Thompson said at a recent workshop meeting to the Director of the Clearwater…..you don’t have to try to explain your plan to us for youth activities at the Settlement Camp because I have four votes (a majority) to turn it over to the state. Council person Casale said that we should turn it over to the State because we can’t afford it.
Council persons Sara Pasti, Charlie Kelly and I are firmly opposed to this short sighted measure and want to keep the Settlement Camp in the hands of the City for our future generations.
Please review the message below which I will be running in the Free Press and take action to flood letters to the Free Press (firstname.lastname@example.org), send emails TODAY if you can in time for Monday’s workshop meeting to (Steve Gold) Mayor@cityofbeacon.org, (Charlie Kelly (email@example.com); Marlene Fredericks; Randy Casale (firstname.lastname@example.org); Sara Pasti (Sarapasti@aol.com) (my Admin Assistant will forward them on to the Council persons who don’t use email), write traditional letters and attend our meetings. The City Council Meeting is on Monday December 15th or the special Budget Adoption Meeting on Wednesday December 17th both at 7:00PM. Please broadcast this message out to your distribution lists.
Letter to the Editor…..
I am deeply concerned that a few vocal residents want to reverse the progress of this city by returning the management of the University Settlement Camp over to the NYS Parks Department. Worse, they have persuaded a majority of council members to agree to this terribly short sited measure. As is often the case, the arguments that the USC costs too much either stems from not knowing the facts or not wanting the camp at any cost. Judge for your self…in 2008 maintenance cost after revenue was $3,200. In 2009 the maintenance amount is expected to be $18,000 before deducting revenue’s from renting the property. (These figures do not include the cost of the pool which is an independent issue).
The University Settlement Camp property is a 60 acre park located at the southern portion of Beacon on Route 9D. It contains a splendid theater in excellent condition, a dugout amphitheater, a gymnasium and full basketball court, a 12 bunk infirmary building in good condition, office space in good condition, many bungalows, two outdoor pavilions, a four season caretaker’s house, a pool in excellent condition, and a historic two story building referred to as the White House. All this is set with the backdrop of Mt. Beacon while the property itself is both wooded and contains a large field the approximate size of the field at Riverfront Park.
The USC White House can be used in the future as the headquarters of the Hudson River Clearwater, numerous youth programs, sports activities, nature walks and any of the uses we can imagine for a park. It can also be a revenue source since all of the buildings can be rented as in 2008 when we received approximately $15,000 for doing just that. It is my hope to board the cottages and open the camp up to the public for the 2009 season.
The Parks Department of NY State informed us that if the camp is given to them they will demolish the buildings and the pool. They will not post a ranger to protect the property. The State of NY will most likely not fund any Beacon projects in the future for the following reasons. When the 2006-07 City Council was on the verge of purchasing the USC for over $500,000, the State acquired it for Beacon and turned its management over to us. It cost us $0. Furthermore, the deal included that the state take over the city owned Mt. Beacon Reservoir which was costing us more than $40,000 every year in school taxes. Lastly, [Clearwater] will not move to Beacon and our city will loose all of the potential revenue, youth programs and prestige we might have gained by them being located here. (note: the Clearwater cannot afford to manage the property on their own)
The idea to give the camp over to the NYS Parks Department to save a minimal maintenance cost is selling out the future recreation of our children and nature enthusiasts. The gains of owning this camp far out weigh the cost of maintaining it. Giving it back to the State is tantamount to the most regressive, backwards, small minded, miserly action I have known. It runs counter to the Comprehensive Plan which is a document that was written to guide the future of the city. It will send a signal to the entire county, developers and potential home owners that Beacon is a city that has no long term vision for children and the environment.
Please send letters addressed to the Mayor and City Council, 1 Municipal Plaza, stating your support to continue operating the USC and by all means attend the City Council Meeting on Monday December 15th or the special Budget Adoption Meeting on Wednesday December 17th both at 7:00PM.
Steve Gold, Mayor