By Buffy Calvert
In an interview with the Gazette, Town of Andes Supervisor Martin Donnelly updated us on the status of grants for the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and the Smart Growth grant to enhance environmental and economic development along the Route 28 corridor. We also asked for his position and that of the Town Council on the hot button issue of hydraulic fracking to extract natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.
Donnelly reported that the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), after extensive negotiations, is prepared to pay 2.3 million dollars toward the repair and upgrade of our failing WWTP. To cover the cost, the Town has also applied for a “Small Cities” grant from the State for $500,000. This application is pending. If we do not receive the State money, the Town will apply to the Army Corps of Engineers for the funds.
Andes has been awarded $87,000 from the Smart Growth fund. This money must be spent in the next year to “brand” the Hamlet with new signage, banners, and gateway billboards displaying a new Andes logo. The theme will be the Anti-Rent War. In fact, the whole enterprise goes under the name of the Calico Project. Besides highlighting Andes’ past, the plan calls for a footbridge over the Tremperskill in Ballantine Park to link the park to the old railroad station above it on Depot Street. Some money will be used to refurbish the depot.
The Calico Project planning committee includes grant writer Alex Adelson; Sally O’Neill of The Andes Hotel; Margaret Moshier, Andes Society for History and Culture; Scott Hill, The Trading Post; and Sharon Tucker, art teacher at ACS. If you have ideas for the committee, speak to Mr. Donnelly or one of the members.
The fracking issue came up at the July Town Council meeting. Mr. Donnelly wants to make it clear that his vote at an earlier Delaware County Supervisors meeting was to endorse continued study of the mining technique, not fracking itself. In June the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC) issued its proposed regulations for hydraulic fracking in New York, prohibiting all fracking in the NYC watershed because NYC receives unfiltered water from its upstate reservoirs. This would eliminate any risk of mining companies exercising leases on land in the Town of Andes.
However, as both Mr. Donnelly and a local resident pointed out, what is to prevent a big oil company from offering to pay a mere 8-9 billion dollars for a filtration plant for the City? We should be prepared. At the Town meeting a request was made for a public hearing to get input from local residents. Watch the Gazette for the date, time and place of this meeting. The State Public Comment period on the DEC regulations runs until September. ~