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‘Sky is limit’ for Catskill waterfront

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The Catskill Creek running through the village of Catskill.
June 25, 2019 10:03 pm

CATSKILL — As the village moves into the final leg of updating its comprehensive plan, residents are also being asked to think about waterfront revitalization.

On Thursday from 3-7:30 p.m. at the Robert C. Antonelli Senior Center, the village will host its first open house for residents to come discuss all things waterfront.

The village was awarded $85,000 from the state Department of State in 2017 to complete a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The program provides coastal municipalities with assistance to reduce flood risk and increase economic development and recreation along the waterfront, according to the village’s website. The village is partnering with Crawford & Associates to create its program.

“No idea is too small or too large,” Catskill Village President Vincent Seeley said. “The sky is the limit.”

One topic will be how to increase public access, Seeley said.

“We want to be getting people out and using our waterfront,” he said.

The gathering will be informal with a cross-section of village officials and knowledgable experts to answer questions, Seeley said.

Seeley also hopes residents will take the time to consider what type of economic development they want to see along the waterfront.

In this way, the program ties in with the moratorium that the village board enacted in September to work on the new comprehensive plan.

New construction from West Bridge Street to the Historic Catskill Point is prohibited during the moratorium.

“The reason for the moratorium was to give us time to stop and think about what we want our waterfront, our public access and our village to look like,” Seeley said.

The new comprehensive plan is expected to be completed in late September.

Developing the waterfront will be an ongoing process, Seeley said.

“The waterfront is always going to be vital,” he said. “It is our next frontier to really push us over the edge to be a destination.”

The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program will be well worth the effort, Seeley said.

“It gives the public and developers enforceable guidelines of how we want the waterfront to be used,” he said.

Donna Verna, general manager at Crawford & Associates, said she thinks the program can be beneficial to communities like Catskill.

“[The village] can capitalize on its location on the Hudson River and the Catskill Creek,” she said.

By developing a plan, the village will balance economic development with preservation of natural resources and develop a future around its waterfront, Verna said.

Additionally, by having the program in place, the village will become eligible for future funding opportunities.

Seeley expects many creative ideas will come from the meeting.

The village will hold two more community meetings, one in the fall and another in the winter, Verna said.

At the first meeting, specific projects in the waterfront plan will be presented for public comment, and at the second, the entire plan will be presented to the public, Verna said.