Infrastructure

Maybe it’s time to notice how many major infrastructure projects have been landing on the desks of our municipal leaders.

Amenia is facing a federally mandated inspection of its water lines, and water district maintenance. At a meeting in mid June, the town board was called upon to release funds so that the Amenia Water Committee can begin to apply for grants. The committee needs to perform records research, home inspections for all water district customers and service-line inspections. Amenia’s Wastewater Committee needs $45,000 to move ahead on work to map, plan and define a wastewater district within the town. The money would go to hiring an engineer and an attorney to pursue applications for infrastructure grants.

For months, the Amenia Recreation Commission has been planning the first phase of a five-year master plan for the Amenia Green project on acreage surrounding Town Hall. This month, residents were presented with information about the project and its challenges by Jane Didona of Didona Associates in Danbury, Conn. Paul Winters, Amenia’s recreation chairman, emphasized that the project wouldn’t be attempted “all in one shot” and explained that the intention is to build the project with grant funding. Next up would be another presentation to the public. Town board approval is needed. Engineering drawings would then show the design and contractors could estimate cost.

In Pine Plains, the town board is discussing a moratorium on solar-power projects. The rationale for such a move is a recognition that the current law could be made better, as well as a realization that the town could face a proliferation of solar projects. The elephant in the room is the Carson Power solar project, which made progress last week toward approval when the town’s planning board concluded that the project didn’t pose significant harmful impact on the environment, or otherwise. The company is proposing to build a commercial solar farm on 174 acres at Pulvers Corners. The panel’s decision comes after nearly half a year of consideration and three public hearings that heard testimony from residents and experts who spoke mostly against the project.

Also this month, the Town of North East met to discuss “another step in the very long process that we have to form a wastewater district for the Town of North East,” in the words of Town Supervisor Chris Kennan. The process will be time-consuming and will require many meetings, public hearings and discussion about grant funding, of which there are many sources. The proposed district comprises the boulevard district of Route 44 from CVS to the Connecticut state line and will, when complete, connect to the wastewater district being simultaneously formed by the Village of Millerton, with the village owning and operating the system. The Village of Millerton and the Town of North East will create an intermunicipal agreement governing how the two entities will work together to operate the system.

Millbrook has a project to repair, remove and reconstruct new sidewalks, necessitating the removal of five trees along Franklin Avenue. Village trustee Mike Herzog has long been an advocate for keeping Millbrook’s Tree City USA designation and recently attended the Tree City USA award ceremony and accepted an award on behalf of the village for the 31st year in a row. He also has been a long proponent of acquiring the means to have the village sidewalks repaired or replaced and has worked to apply for grants for the work.

Town and village board members, committee members and citizens who make all this happen should be commended for doing the basic work — and transparently so — that we need for everyday life.

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