The Village Preservation Committee held a meeting Friday to discuss their findings from their placemaking tour of Montgomery’s three villages on Oct. 17 and develop new ideas.
The Village Preservation Committee is a diverse group of professionals and residents using a revolving list of concerns and desires of the community to communicate with proposed projects in the area in order to preserve the charm and safety of each village in the Town of Montgomery while allowing for growth around it.
On Friday, the committee determined that the Village of Maybrook has a clear vision for economic development and downtown revitalization. However, the group believes the village would benefit from more beautification.
“Every community could use more beautification,” said Maybrook Mayor Dennis Leahy. “If anyone has specific suggestions, I’m open to them at all times. We put banners up in the village and we change them four times a year, we decorate for the holidays and Christmas.”
Unlike Maybrook, the Village of Walden has the Walden Community Council, which develops beautification projects. Moving forward, the committee would like to see more trees, pocket parks, benches and flower pots in Walden.
During the placemaking tour, the group appreciated the well-maintained sidewalks and flower planters on Clinton Street. They expressed needs for a sidewalk to the Village of Montgomery Senior Center, better maintained sidewalks on New York State Route 17K, more outdoor seating and possible pocket parks.
Following the tour, the committee created some final thoughts. They believe that the villages would benefit from law enforcement on foot patrol. This would allow for residents to build relationships with police officers. The group would also like to see more partnerships between businesses, the villages and the schools.
Moving forward, the group believes the villages should utilize the Orange County Tourism guidelines more. Code enforcement officers should be more involved in projects’ planning stages while providing increased enforcement.
One pivotal takeaway from the tour was a need for more access to the Wallkill River. Ideas proposed included fishing piers, a boat launch and walking trails.
The remaining final thoughts from the walking tour included the expansion of Dial-A-Bus for teen use and having restaurants and recreation located together would be beneficial for families. The group would also like to see more public parking and wayfinding signage in the three villages.
On Friday, the committee pitched more ideas. They would like to see more updates made to the Walden website. Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher brought up an attraction that would bring tourists to the area.
“There is a development that has been potentially developing for many, many years for I think 13 single-family homes,” he said. “Part of that developer’s agreement includes preserving and doing some beautification and community-oriented work on the mastodon site. That is actually going to start happening soon across from the high school and we ought to communicate with this group and work on some ideas because that’s potentially a tourism destination.”
Residents Protecting Montgomery Co-founder Don Berger would like to see more children and young adults coming to town and village meetings. Theresa Espinoza wants to see murals in the villages after seeing them in downtown Beacon.
The committee will now meet in smaller groups for the next few months, with each addressing a different issue in the town. While in smaller groups, they will meet more frequently.