During last week’s Plattekill Town Board meeting Ulster County Legislator Kevin Roberts touched upon a long-delayed dream of building a town Community Center.
“I know all of you have been doing hard work to come up with a starting point,” he said. “Today will be a starting point, not a commitment. It’s a long process to find funding whether it’s county or state tax collars or at the end of the day, town tax dollars. You need to go slow and find a plan that works for all of us. I applaud you for talking about this tonight.”
Supervisor Joe Croce said the board should decide what a center would look like and what kind of building would best suit the needs of the town. He said this should happen before the town sends out official requests for proposal [RFP] bids to area developers.
Councilman Dean DePew said he first brought up the idea of a center 7 years ago.
“My idea back at that time was that it was something that we needed [and] that was something the community wanted. This is something that I have felt strongly about doing for many years,” he said. “I think as a Town Board the very first step, and every long journey begins with the first step, is to come together, pass a motion that we are going to start looking into doing this and making this a real project. I’ve been trying to do this since 2014 and it’s 2021 and we’re still dragging our feet...I say we need a community center.”
DePew has visited several nearby municipalities to look at their community centers and reached out to the architect of those buildings to discuss the designs and how buildings may be modified to best suit the needs of Plattekill. He and the architect talked about geothermal heat, provisions for solar, a generator, a full kitchen, bathrooms, numerous closets for community organizations to securely store their equipment, an inside meeting room and possibly an inside stage along with a covered outside stage.
Croce said the Town Board is in favor of a center but thought the Park Expansion Committee, headed by Councilman Darryl Matthews, would bring some sketches and ideas to the Town Board.
Residents Dwight and Laura Dougherty have long advocated for a community center and previously submitted some conceptual ideas to the board for their consideration.
“We try to help provide information to all of us; we are only trying to help the town,” Dwight said. “We keep throwing stuff back at you guys and you guys keep going I like this, I don’t like this.”
Legislator Roberts said he appreciates the past work by the park committee but said the town needs to come up with a starting plan, “which the committee can weigh in at any time; we need the input.” He said he is seeking $3 million from the county and has worded it to fall under the covid-19 relief guidelines for funding.
“I have no idea what the county is going to decide in funding us but unless we ask and are ready, we’re not going to get anything,” he said.
The Town Board did not put forth a motion stating that a community center is needed, as DePew had suggested, but did agree for several board members to tour the community centers in Maybrook and Montgomery to get a better idea of possible options. DePew will be setting up the visits in the next few weeks.