Now Creating A Beautiful Earth...
MAMAKATING – The Beautiful Earth Group, which now owns the old Homowack properties in Spring Glen, has expressed their interest in developing the fabled old Borscht Belt site as a family-oriented and environmentally sensitive resort, powered with the renewable energy sources the New York-based company is known for promoting and building nationwide.
Grant writer and special projects manager Kerron Barnes informed the board at its meeting on February 3 that the US Department of Agriculture has initiated a program called Rural Energy for America, designed to assist in the research and development of potential renewable energy sites in rural areas. The board voted to offer its support to the Beautiful Earth Group in the preparation of a grant application for $100,000 to be submitted to the USDA.
In addition, the BE group is considering the possibility of supplying renewable energy to Mamakating. For at least a year, the town has been exploring the feasibility of placing solar panels at the landfill, or on some other town property, but has not yet found a suitable site for such an installation. The 45-acre resort property in Spring Glen could be a welcome possibility for a cooperative venture to generate renewable energy in the local area.
In other town business, supervisor Bill Herrmann reported that the highway department had joined an auction group and had sold $11,800 worth of "old stuff" that the town could no longer use. He also said that the board had decided not to cover the legal and engineering expenses related to a project of the Summitville Fire Department to install a steel pavilion for recreational use near the fire station. However, the board will waive the planning board and ZBA fees associated with this project.
For some time, the board has also been talking about upgrading the security at town hall. Herrmann received a $41,000 quote from a company to install a surveillance system. Instead, he said, the town will do the job in-house for $3,000 or $4,000. The board is also working on a plan to live-stream town meetings. In the meantime, they will see about setting up their own video to record the proceedings.
Four new members were appointed to the ethics board, including Pastor Anthony Cacchio of the Mamakating-Bloomingburg Christian Fellowship. Herrmann also announced that the town had reached an agreement with the Fellowship in regards to the use of the Bloomingburg Restoration building. The non-denominational Christian group will pay rent to the town, which will be applied towards the purchase price of the building. The site will continue to house the historical exhibits of Bloomingburg Restoration.
Finally, the board voted to open up a part-time clerical position to support the work of the planning board and the ZBA. This job requires some accounting skills in order to handle the deposits made by applicants before the two boards. It will be advertised in the Times Herald-Record, and is also listed on the town's website at www.mamakating.org.