PALENVILLE – The Catskill Town board has voted to remove the temporary fence installed at the tannery bridge swimming hole and will consider other ways to keep the area under control after receiving more feedback public.
After holding a city council meeting in Palenville on Wednesday and hearing comments from the public, council removed the temporary fencing and will explore the possibility of posting signs at the swimming hole. Residents offered suggestions for keeping the swimming hole clean and open for residents, including signage and a community stewardship program.
Some residents said visitors from out of town took advantage of the area and created problems for locals. People who live near the Kaaterskill Hole and Creek said issues include noise after dark, parked vehicles blocking access to homes and children jumping off the tannery bridge.
Greene County, owner of the bridge, plans to install an 8-foot fence on the bridge by mid-August to prevent jumping into the water, Councilor Paul Vosburgh said at the meeting on the 7th. July.
Alternatively, Kevin Lennon, resident and former fire chief of Palenville, said closing the hole was not fair for everyone and created a problem for the fire department as well.
“By putting up the fence you are just going to create another problem on the fire department side as it would not allow us to have access to proper water for structural fires and would put the hamlet at risk,” he said. Lennon said.
Resident Nora Ahearn said she opposed the fence.
“My feeling like you’re building a wall maybe 8 feet, 10 feet, if the kids want to go to the creek they’re going to climb it, and when they fall, break their backs, who are they going to sue? ? ” Ahearn said.
The suggestion for a stewardship program that would engage community members in educational conversations with pool visitors was offered by resident Rick Vincent, who said a similar program has been implemented with the Catskill. 3500 Club.
“They talk to people who show up, they come and go and they don’t argue with them, they don’t have the power to stop anyone, and that’s not the point – the point is to bond d ‘friendship and talk to them, explain the problems we have. We asked them to be considerate, not loud, “said Vincent.” We found that once you start talking to people, some of the the people who are causing your biggest problem become your advocates. ”
Council asked those interested in the stewardship program to email the city clerk with their contact information.
The board of directors decided in July 2020 to temporarily close and fencing public access to the swimming hole after it became overcrowded and overrun with garbage due to the closure of public swimming pools amid the pandemic. But residents said the board this summer is different, asking the board to remove the fence and put plans for a permanent fence on hold.
In July 2020, following public comments and concerns over parked cars blocking Route 23A, lack of social distancing, excessive garbage, and people jumping into the water from the bridge, the council decided to shut down temporarily public access to the swimming hole. With the closure, the only access to the hole is from private property.
The board passed a resolution in May to get a quote for the price of a permanent fence after some Palenville residents pleaded for its complete closure at the meeting.
City supervisor Dale Finch said the city had not moved forward with a permanent fence blocking access to the hole, adding that the fence would be costly.
“I think we have better ways of spending our taxpayer’s money than putting up fences,” he said.
Finch said if any issues reappear, the issue could be revisited.
“If we need to put in a temporary fence and repost it, that’s something we will consider in the future as needed,” Finch said.