Peddlers and pickleball on Montgomery agenda

By Jared Castañeda
Posted 7/10/24

The Village of Montgomery board continues to juggle several issues during its July 2 meeting, from addressing projects for the village’s library and senior center to minimizing disturbances in …

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Peddlers and pickleball on Montgomery agenda


The Village of Montgomery board continues to juggle several issues during its July 2 meeting, from addressing projects for the village’s library and senior center to minimizing disturbances in the neighborhood and on the pickleball court.

Mayor Mike Hembury opened the meeting by clarifying a local law that he announced during the board’s last meeting: a ban on peddlers in the village. He explained that, based on recent events and research, he did not want strangers visiting residents’ homes and selling dangerous or illegal products.

“We’re living in tough times, we don’t know who’s wandering around our neighborhoods today, and I don’t want more bad things to happen,” Hembury said. “We still have the hot dog stand and the ice cream man, but I’m not having somebody wander around the neighborhood and come up to someone’s front door selling something.”

Mary Lippincott, a member of the village’s library board, opened public comment and requested the mayor and trustees to permit her board to submit a letter to NY Forward for proposed improvements to the municipal library. The project’s biggest renovation would include removing a glass wall to expand the children’s section.

“I just got the bid for what we proposed for the renovations of the library and we put our letter of interest into NY Forward,” Lippincott said. “If we get the money, is the board going to approve the renovations? This building belongs to the village and we want to make improvements. We don’t want to desecrate the building but it does need improvements.”

The board briefly discussed the decision but was unsure and did not grant approval then. Lippincott asserted that she would return to the next meeting to confirm their decision but would submit the library’s letter to NY Forward before then.

Resident JoAnn Corrigan raised concerns about the pickleball courts in Veterans Memorial Park; several residents living on Bridge Street have experienced noise and light disturbances caused by people using the front pickleball courts throughout the day, especially at night. She requested that these players use the park’s back courts, which are farther from Bridge Street and would minimize the disturbances.

“We don’t have anything against them. You want to play in 100-degree weather or thunderstorms? Go for it, that’s up to you,” Corrigan said. “But they got brand-new courts in the back, go play back there. They’ve never been denied the opportunity to play, so go play.”

Hembury acknowledged that he and the board received numerous complaints from parents for various pickleball issues, including improper equipment, insurance requirements, overstayed reservations, and gatekeeping. The board motioned to change the hours for the front pickleball courts so they close at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

Resident James Kiernan echoed a suggestion that several seniors proposed during the past few sessions: move the board meetings to the senior center, a more accessible building that people with disabilities can access. Kiernan felt disheartened that the board continued to hold meetings at the village hall, a less accessible building, and requested the mayor and trustees to uphold their citizens’ rights to participate.

“The senior center is on flat ground with no hills or stairs to climb with plenty of parking and more accessibility for anyone with mobility issues or the elderly,” Kiernan said. “By insisting on holding meetings here, you’re intentionally breaking the law and infringing on the rights of the disabled, which I find half-hearted, short-sighted, and just plain wrong.”

In response, Hembury asserted that anyone could watch the meetings wherever on the village’s Facebook page; some residents called from the crowd about the inability to participate online, to which Hembury stated the board is “doing the best we can.”

“I was the one who pushed these meetings to be televised so people could sit home and watch them. And these are filmed meetings at $250 an hour,” he said. “So somebody who’s handicapped can sit in the luxury of their own home and watch them.”

Rita Santo, a member of the village’s senior center board, brought up two questions she asked during the last meeting that the board did not initially answer. She also shared a survey she took at the senior center on June 28 that emphasized how important the center is for seniors to socialize with others.

“How does the change in the original intent of our $185,000 grant conform with the specifications of the grant award?” she said. “And can you confirm that the senior center will not be used as a rental hall after 2024?”

“I took a very unscientific survey on Friday when we played our games; I went around and interviewed people. Sixty percent of the people who showed up on Friday for games go home to empty houses. So there is a need,” she continued.

Deputy Mayor Darlene Andolsek stated that the board reached out to the Orange County government regarding the grant’s repurposing, which the county approved, but was unable to answer.

“We asked if the repairs confirmed with the specifications of the grant, and the county approved the changes,” Andolsek said. “As far as the rental, I don’t know.”