CATSKILL — Village officials are making sure Dutchman’s Landing looks its best, no matter what happens in the summer of the coronavirus.
Crews from Peckham Industries planned to wrap up their part of the work Wednesday, Village Trustee Peter Grasse Jr. said, referring to the $200,000 repaving of the parking lot.
Grasse met with Jefferson Cafe, the new tenant of Dutchman’s Galley, and representatives from Hershey’s Ice Cream on Tuesday in the park to go over the details of leasing the galley building, he said.
“It’s a beautiful park and needed to be upgraded for sure,” Grasse said.
Dutchman’s Galley was closed for the 2019 summer season and was replaced by a rotation of food trucks.
“The galley is back by popular demand and we are very excited about its reopening,” Village President Vincent Seeley said. “Outdoor venues are just what we need as we phase ourselves back to business in Catskill. We are making a targeted investment in our parks and outdoor facilities to give our residents, who have been stuck inside for over seven weeks, a place to get out and get active in a safe environment.”
Seeley believes the return to the galley makes sense.
“The food truck concept may have worked this past year but the consistency of a local, successful and known entity in a bricks-and-mortar building makes more sense moving forward,” Seeley said. “We still plan on having our very popular annual Food Truck Festival on Main Street this year if permitted. Our tentative date is Sept. 12, and we look to pair that up with other innovative outdoor activities.”
The galley building was in need of some TLC, Grasse said.
“We had the hood professionally cleaned,” Grasse said. “The kitchen needed to be painted. It’s all painted and ready to go. The village replaced the sinks.”
Jefferson Cafe will be responsible for maintaining the restrooms as part of its lease, Grasse said.
Operating the galley during the pandemic will not be at odds with state guidelines, Grasse said.
“They should be OK with window service,” he said.
In addition to serving Hershey’s Ice Cream, the galley will sell hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries, Grasse said.
The galley could be open for business by the end of May, Grasse said.
“DPW is out there now putting in a new pump station for the bathrooms,” he said.
Work on the parking lot accomplished more than just filling in potholes. The designs, drafted by Creighton Manning Engineering, increased the number of parking spaces from 39 to 167. The new design also added 24 boat spaces.
Although the village owns the park, Greene County uses the parking lot for many events at the adjacent Historic Catskill Point. The county foot the bill for the project.
“I advocated that the county should make the commitment to invest and make the much- needed improvements to the parking lot,” Legislator Matthew Luvera, R-Catskill, said. “The parking lot was an unorganized mess. Now there will be striped parking spaces, areas for boat trailers to park, specified event parking, improved lighting for safety and it will be much [more] organized than it has ever been.”
A new performance space for Music in the Park and other events is in its final stages, Grasse said.
The timber-frame stage was inspired by similar architecture in Lake Park, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The project cost about $50,000, with about half donated by the Heart of Catskill Association, Grasse said.
The Heart of Catskill Association runs the Music in the Park program for 11 weeks each summer and is now in its 22nd year.
“The contractors can’t work right now so it’s at a standstill until we can get the tongue-and-groove roof on,” he said. “Once that’s done, it’s done. Now it’s only a matter of being able to have music in the park.”
Other village activities have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The moratorium on all new waterfront development, originally enacted in September 2018 to aid officials as they updated the municipality’s 10-year-old comprehensive plan, was extended for another six months on April 22.
The village adopted the new comprehensive plan Feb. 26.
“We are unable to work on and enact zoning laws that will support the comprehensive plan due to the COVID lockdown,” Seeley said.
Looking ahead, Grasse sees more improvements needed for the park, he said.
“The boat ramp needs a lot of attention,” he said, adding that he will be contacting the state Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the ramp.
The village is putting the docks at the park, which are removed each winter, back in the water next week, Seeley said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced April 18 that marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed to open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed.