BY CHERYL SLAVIN
The Stony Point community came together last night at the Town meeting to honor and support lifelong resident, volunteer and two-time town council candidate Ed Onderdonk, who is battling cancer. Supervisor Geoff Finn announced that on Saturday, August 2 there will be a fundraiser at Riverfront Park from 1 to 5 p.m. with food, music, raffles and other entertainments; the proceeds will go towards assisting Onderdonk and his family.
Finn also read a proclamation, that declared August 2 “Edward Onderdonk Day,” and stated that his service “has left an indelible imprint on the Stony Point community.” He was born and raised in Stony Point, and has continued to live and work in the town his entire adult life. He has been active in Stony Point politics, most recently running as Democratic and Working Families candidate for Town Council in 2013. In addition, he is also well known for his work with the Boy Scouts and Little League, and for his 30 years as a volunteer member of the Ambulance Corps. A visibly thinner but still upbeat Onderdonk thanked everyone for the honor.
During his Supervisor’s Report, Finn announced that he was planning to contact all the other North Rockland municipalities and the school district by email in an effort to create a joint North Rockland economic development committee. He expressed his frustration at the lack of coordinated effort throughout the wider community to work together to bring in rateables that would benefit “the specific needs and interests of all North Rockland.” He envisions that the committee would consist of at least one elected official from each municipality, as well as two school board members and one school union member. “We need to stop butting heads and start being partners,” he declared. His remarks were met by applause from the audience.
When asked to comment on Finn’s announcement, Councilmember Tom Basile stated:
“Whether this type of initiative will bear any fruit certainly remains to be seen. Regardless, I and other members of the Board will continue to foster the kind of cooperation and dialogue between the state, county, towns and villages that is needed to advance a workable economic development plan for the area.”
A town insider source who ask to remain anonymous noted that while the idea itself might be a good one, Finn had not discussed it with board members or his municipal counterparts before announcing it at the meeting. As such, the gesture might be viewed more as political grandstanding by some, which could work against the stated intention of conciliation.
During public input Susan Filgueras addressed a proposal that has been before the Zoning Board for the past few months. The owner of property on Kay Fries Drive, currently zoned commercial/industrial, is interested in establishing a school on the site for children challenged with autism. Filgueras spoke out against putting a school in a zone that she said not only would be dangerous for the children, but would also remove potentially lucrative property from the town tax rolls.
Finn responded by noting first, the board has absolutely no objection to a school for autistic children located within Stony Point, however, the board is firmly against establishing one in the heavily commercial Kay Fries and Holt Drive location.