Shawangunk to invest in security cameras for town parks

By Ted Remsnyder
Posted 9/11/19

The Town of Shawangunk has a long-term plan to revitalize Garrison Park, and the first step is the installation of security cameras that overlook the public space. With the park’s basketball …

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Shawangunk to invest in security cameras for town parks

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The Town of Shawangunk has a long-term plan to revitalize Garrison Park, and the first step is the installation of security cameras that overlook the public space. With the park’s basketball courts in disrepair, the town is weighing options for rearranging the park, including the possible installation of a pickleball court at the site.

But first the town wants to place three surveillance cameras on poles in the park to monitor the space, and the Town Board voted unanimously to accept a proposal to spend $4,778 to purchase and install the cameras at its Sept. 5 meeting. The expenditure will be partially offset by a $1,000 donation from the Rotary Club. Garrison will be the first park in the town to have security cameras installed. “That’s why we didn’t rebuild the basketball courts after they were vandalized, because we want to put cameras in there before we invest in playground equipment,” Town Supervisor John Valk said.

The Shawangunk Police will have access to the cameras, which will feature wide-angle lenses. “The police will monitor it right from the police station,” Valk said. “It’s kind of a safety issue for people using the park. It’ll also pick up things from the streets around it.” The town is also weighing the possibility of monitoring its Highway Department headquarters. “We also want to put cameras at the highway garage, because the gates are open a lot and people come in and they take salt or sand,” Valk said. “So we have to keep an eye on that equipment a little more. It’s a trending thing unfortunately, having cameras everywhere. We have them outside the building here (Town Hall) too.”

The town plans to use Park Development Funds going forward to modernize Garrison Park, which could see the current setup of the park altered based on the input of the community. “We’ll probably form a committee of some type,” Valk said. “We have a resident that wants to get involved. We’ll come up with what we have to spend on new playground equipment. The one swing there is probably 40 years old or more. I saw somebody on Facebook that’s my age that used to swing on it when he was young. The insurance company frowns on it, so it has to go. It’s not safe. We could maybe make the basketball court one small court and add the pickleball. That’s getting to be quite popular. They’re having tournaments and everything.”

During Thursday’s meeting, the board voted to accept the resignation of Dog Control Officer Paolo Chiappetta. Shawangunk Police Chief Gerald Marlatt told the board that Chiappetta had resigned on Aug. 31 without giving two weeks prior notice. The police committee, which includes Councilmen Brian Amthor and Robert Miller, is launching a search for Chiappetta’s replacement. Marlatt noted that all of his officers are trained in dog control techniques that they can employ in the interim. “They’ll probably advertise that the position’s available and do some interviews,” Valk said of the committee. “In the meantime, the police officers will cover the emergencies.”

The Lions Club is continuing its work on the three-quarter acre parcel of land next to the Wallkill River bridge, and organizational rep Sal Patella informed the board during last week’s meeting that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to hold a planting at the site on Oct. 17 to place a minimum of 70 plants on the plot. Patella said there will be 30 trees planted at the site to beautify the patch of land next to the bridge.

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