Regional visioning process starts with $90,000 for corridor towns

By Jay Braman Jr.
A $90,000 state grant is being used to help communities along the Route 28 corridor from Andes to Olive get an idea of what they would like the corridor to become.
$91,417 in grant funds will be provided by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund, through the Esopus-Delaware Corridor Revit-alization Strategy. The project will involve a “regional visioning process” that will be facilitated in the towns of Andes, Hurley, Middletown, Olive and Shandaken as well as the villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville, with the aid of the landscape architecture program at the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry. (ESF)
The funding is being channeled to the Town of Olive, the eastern most community in the corridor.
“Olive is the lead agency of the seven municipalities (involved in the project),’ Olive councilwoman Helen Chase told reporters last week.
“It would appear that Olive is getting the $90,000 but it’s not true. It’s all of us that are getting it.”
According to Chase, Part of the grant will go to The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, a nonprofit organization where Chase is a Vice President, and part will go to SUNY ESF because design students are going to help municipalities come up with plans along the corridor.
Some of these communities intend to go through a visioning program similar to those in Phoenicia, Middletown, Fleischmanns, Arkville and Margaretville, where the Catskill Center helped those communities decide for themselves what it is they want to have help with and what they want to change and beautify. It remains unclear whether those previous vision plans, now several years old, will play a role in the current visioning effort.
What is meant by “Visioning” appears to be a study of certain areas along 28 and the Esopus Creek to imagine what they might look like after some creative improvements are made.
The Central Catskills Collaborative was formed to protect the regional assets held in common by the 7 villages and towns along the 28 corridor which passed resolutions this year to commit representatives to the endeavor. Part of the idea is to form a regional consciousness and pride. Shandaken with Fleischmanns and Olive, and so on, may in fact help forge a greater regional identity.