Last Meeting of the Year Sees Changing of the Guard at Stony Point Town Board; Town Also Receives Additional $20,000 CDBG Grant, Says Good-Bye to Library Director Benjamin Reid

1486897_10202406746397375_1888012242_nBY CHERYL SLAVIN

In its last meeting of 2013, the Stony Point Town Board wrapped up some old business and bid farewell to some familiar faces while preparing the way for the coming year’s work.

Supervisor Geoff Finn announced that Maria Frank, interim director of Rockland County Department of Community Development, was granting the Town of Stony Point an additional $20,000 to be used towards the renovation of the bathrooms at the RHO building. This brings the total amount of the grant, originally received in May of this year, to over $120,000.

As previously reported by this newspaper, Finn had recently taken Frank to task as being incapable of her job. This time he publicly thanked her for the additional funds. Finn also announced that the law firm representing the town during the cell tower negotiations has waived its fee of over $21,000, so that the town will have full use of the $2.3 million netted by the sale.

During his regular report Finn recognized and commended departing councilmembers Jim McDonnell and Luanne Konopko.

“Jim has been a good friend and colleague, helpful, always there to do whatever the Board has needed. He has served the Stony Point community well, not just as a councilman, but as a member of the Zoning Board for so many years,” Finn said before presenting McDonnell with a gift certificate and certificate of thanks.

“Luanne has served with commitment and caring for the past four years,” Finn continued. “She has always been there for the people of Stony Point. We might not have always agreed on every point, but we’ve always worked together with respect and friendship.” Konopko also received a certificate and a bouquet of roses.

Later, during her final report as chair of the Economic Development Committee, Konopko highlighted some of the committee’s many accomplishments including beautification through welcome signs at PIP exits 14 and 15 and park benches along Liberty Drive, the overall initiatives to revitalize the intersection of Liberty and Main as well as the Liberty Drive commercial corridor, the new flow chart for business enterprises in the town, and the Business Steering Committee. She will continue on as a member of the New York Rising Communities committee.

Another departure took many of the public by surprise. Benjamin Reid, the highly respected director of the Rose Memorial Library, announced that he had accepted a position as director of the Huron Public Library in Huron, Ohio, and that his last day as director in Stony Point will be next week. He expressed gratitude to the entire Stony Point community for all their support during his tenure as director, stating simply that his time spent here was “a blast.” Reid, who is originally from Ohio, as is his wife, will be returning to his home state to be closer to family. Next week he will start training the interim director, Jacqueline Ryan, who was most recently library director at Mount St. Mary College. Her first full day on the job will be January 2, 2014.

As some departed, others arrived. Police Chief Brian Moore nominated Robert Bertand to be hired as a new Stony Point police officer. Bertand’s interview with the Board, carried out in executive session prior to the public meeting, included the two new councilmen-elect, Tom Basile and Jim Monaghan. His hire at a lower pay grade, to fill one of the two vacancies left by the retirement of two veteran officers, will not only put another patrolman on the street but will also save the Town money. The Board also prepared for the transition of its newest members by setting the date of January 7, 2014 for its reorganization meeting.

Change is also coming to 15 Smith Street, a property purchased by the Town for the purpose of expanding the Highway Department. Superintendent of Highways Larry Brissing received permission to demolish the deteriorated house currently on the property to facilitate the expansion. The Highway Department will do the demolition itself, thereby saving the Town about $12,000.

Susan Filgueras and Councilman Karl Javenes also brought the Rockland County Times up to date on the progress being made with the Pyngyp school house restoration. Since the last report in May, the floor and floor joists have been completely replaced, through the volunteer efforts of Javenes, his assistant N. Martinez and the installer Christian Delisio. The entire building has been completely rewired through the generosity of Wellington Casscles. The handicapped entrance way and a new foundation beneath the rear of the building were completed in November. The front steps were renovated by mason Dee Holdridge. In early December, Lennox Industries donated HVAC equipment and EB Design donated the labor to install the brand new heating and air conditioning systems. Laurie and Phil Cozza have made donations towards the new bathroom fixtures.

When the renovations are finished the century old one room school house will serve as a community and welcome center for Stony Point. It is listed both on the state and the national historic places registries. With all the progress, there is still a lot to be done, and additional funding is needed. Donations are gladly welcomed, and both Filgueras and Javenes will be happy to assist interested donors. The Historical Society phone number is 845-942-5030, and the email is stonypointdiary.net.