Andes Smart Growth Plan focus is on celebrating history


By Matthew J. Perry
In an attempt to collect the biggest available slice of DEC Smart Growth money, the Town of Andes is digging back into its history and unveiling an ambitious plan to showcase it—in calico.
On Monday night, the town’s planning board, which served as lead agency on the project, presented a full description of the project. Ideally, Andes will receive $83,333 of a $500,000 grant designated for six Route 28 towns; $40,000 is the minimum any town will receive.
Alex Adelson, who led the effort to draft the plan, stated that the most famous incident in Andes’ history—an 1844 shooting that touched off the Anti-Rent war—was the perfect starting point for an effort to make the community’s past and present into a destination for Catskill visitors. “It meets all the attributes of the Smart Growth idea,” Adelson said. “It will stimulate tours of this town by bringing out history and culture in the area and help bring us together with other towns.”
The plan has been dubbed “Project Calico” and stretches beyond what $83,000 will buy. It calls for increased signage in the village, as well as a map that will flesh out details of the Anti-Rent War, and a logo that will feature the Calico Indian costume, used by farmers during the 19th century uprising against absentee landlords and their enforcers.
The application also calls for construction in Ballantine Park, including a bridge across Tremperskill Creek and steps leading up to the railway station, which sits on a bluff above the park on Cabin Hill Road. The station, presently unused, would become a media center that could also serve as an exhibit hall. “There’s a lot of extremely interesting history in this area, particularly farming history,” said Adelson. “People should know about it.”
Adelson expressed hope that the Smart Growth money would cover the signage, map and perhaps the bridge. But because of the scope of the project, he noted that its completion was an open question. “We’d probably need two or three years to finish this, assuming we could find the extra funds.”
Despite this prediction of unfinished business, the board expressed satisfaction with the plan, and Adelson was confident that Andes would receive the largest amount available. Awards are expected to be announced in late August or early September.