Supervisor touts Andes upgrades for new year

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Staff report
With a newly improved wastewater treatment facility, a new health clinic and cell phone service on the horizon, Andes Supervisor Marty Donnelly says that it looks as though 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for the town.

The malfunctioning eight-year-old wastewater treatment system has finally been overhauled. “I’m very, very pleased,” said Donnelly. “Sometimes, you have to really step back and look at these things. The city is actually using this new type of system that we’re getting.”

The project, which took months, is on schedule, said Donnelly. “It appears it’s going to come in under the estimate, because of efficiency,” he said.  The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is footing the bill for about $2.3 million to replace the system, which failed repeatedly after heavy rains.

Testing underway
According to Donnelly, the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) treatment system will begin undergoing a series of start up tests this week. It will serve about 170 households and businesses. It’s expected to be up and running by the end of the month.

The town is also gearing up for the delayed opening of the Bassett Healthcare Network Andes Health Center. The facility was originally slated to open last September, then re-scheduled for January. Now it looks as though the opening may be pushed back to March.  O’Connor Hospital in Delhi, which belongs to the Bassett network, is paying for the $700,000 construction project.

First quarter projection
“Our deal is to have it operational in the first quarter of the new year and we have the site work completed,” said Amy Beveridge, O’Connor Hospital’s manager of fund development. “The foundation, parking lot, sidewalks and landscaping are in.”

Beveridge would not comment on what’s holding up delivery of the 2,800 square foot Greek Revival modular building. “There’s been some delay with the manufacturer in Pennsylvania,” said Donnelly, who is also on the hospital’s board of directors.          

When the facility opens, it will be run by Dr. Susan Fiore, formerly of Margaretville Hospital. Beveridge said a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant for the facility will soon be hired.   

Finally, residents and visitors alike will be happy to learn that Donnelly expects discussions to soon begin to bring Verizon cell phone service to Andes. “It’s not clear whether Verizon will use one cell tower or two,” he said.  “You have to have it (wireless service) out on the reservoir for boating and for hiking trails. With people coming here, that would be a draw, but I look at it as a safety factor.”
According to Donnelly, one of the outdoor highlights of the season is the one-mile-long Andes Rail Trail on Cabin Hill Road. It is a joint effort by Andes Works!, the Catskill Mountain Club and the town.  Club trustee Ann Roberti calls the cross-country skiing on the former rail bed  “terrific.”
A second one-and-a-half-mile-long trail up to the ridge above the rail bed is expected to open this spring. For more information, check out andesworks.com/rail-trail.