ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
Town of Shandaken, Ulster County
in cooperation with the
Town of Middletown, Delaware County
ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR COMMITTEE
Town of Shandaken, New York
Dean L. Gitter, Chairman
Harry Jameson, III
Glenn E. Miller
Stone Ridge, New York
This study was funded, in part, by a grant from the Regional Plan Association
Route 28 Corridor Committee
Box 8, Big Indian. NY. 12410
Mr. Neil Grant, Supervisor, for
The Town Board of Shandaken and
Mr. Alan Rosa, Supervisor, for
The Town Board of Middletown
Over the last eight months, the members of the Route 28 Corridor Committee have undertaken one of the most comprehensive analyses ever made of the tourism potential of the central Catskills. We have conducted a number of public meetings to gain the input of the citizens of the area; we have reviewed in whole or in part virtually every one of the many studies done for the region over the last thirty years; we have conducted thinktank seminars and one-on-one meetings with consultants from a variety of different fields, and we have debated long and hard among ourselves.
It is a principle of research that one can not study a phenomenon without in some manner altering it. We have experienced for ourselves that principle in action. We began with a mandate to review tourism opportunities within the Route 28 Corridor through Shandaken. We were quickly led to expand our compass to include Middletown. The interest of the citizens of that Town was so evident, that Shandaken's Supervisor invited Middletown and Fleischmanns to join in our deliberations. And before that effort could be far advanced, Middletown's Town Board leapfrogged the process and voted unanimously to join Shandaken in an economic development partnership. The Town Board of Shandaken responded quickly and unanimously in the affirmative, and the Route 28 Committee was charged with the task of recommending the form and makeup of this partnership.
The resulting cooperation is unprecedented in the history of the Catskills and very rare anywhere in the State. The proposed Central Catskills Planning Alliance is equally unique. And the people of our two Towns have responded to this new prospect with a new outpouring of a commodity which has been in very short supply here in recent years: hope!
The substance of the report transmitted herewith has, in large measure, been publicly aired in recent months. It contains no new discoveries and no new panaceas. It says basically what most of us who live here have long known: the Catskills are one of God's better creations and we are blessed to live in the heart of it. And what we savor and respect in this treasured landscape has had a new birth of relevance among the people who live and labor in the great metropolitan areas around us. If we make a place for them, they will come.
But if we're going to invite visitors, we've got to roll up our sleeves and spruce up. The yard is still glorious, but the house badly needs work.
The plan contained in the accompanying report is ambitious and large-scale. But it is no grander than our natural resources deserve and no larger than the obvious opportunity. It projects the creation of well over a thousand year-round jobs and economic activity in excess of half a billion dollars.
The agency of this development must be a public/private partnership from the first day. The proposed Alliance must, from its inception, start attracting funds and support among the agencies of the state and the Federal government; and a parallel effort must be made to attract private seed capital and eventual large corporation participation to succeed. Something in the neighborhood of a million dollars must be accessed and expended in order to develop the detailed plans for the unified tourism project and the financial feasibility work necessary to attract further public and private investment.
The climb will be arduous and the summit will often seem very far away. What we must keep in mind is that IT CAN BE ACHIEVED! The resource is here; the market is here; the opportunity is real and we have as good a chance of attracting the necessary resources as any tourism area in the country and far better than most. If the market, the jobs, the economic vitality and the will of our people can be demonstrated, then the resources will follow.
It is our firm opinion that no piecemeal effort, no small demonstration project, no simple paint-up, fix-up mentality will serve. The magnificent preserve of the Catskill State Park justifies the ambitious nature of the undertaking.
And the timing is uniquely right! Suddenly, everybody on the outside wants something from the Catskills. The Federal Government wants more heavily guarded water quality protection. The City of New York wants our cooperation or, at least, acquiescence in their campaign to satisfy the demands of the EPA. The State wants to spend significant bond monies in acquiring yet more land for the State Park. The environmentalists want stronger controls on the way we conduct our lives. Even Scenic America in Washington wants to protect Route 28 from its perilous position as one of their self-styled most endangered scenic by-ways in America.
We are a determined and fiercely independent people. We resent the interference of these outside forces. But we can not be deaf to the logic of their positions: water quality must be protected for our own and New York City's benefit. We ourselves recoil from the idea of over-population, and the Long-Islandization of the Catskills is unthinkable. Further deterioration of our infrastructure hurts us first. Assaults on our viewsheds would be tragic. The tasteful, appropriate and fruitful development of that portion of these hills which remains in our hands is our responsibility.
In exercise of our home-rule rights, then, it is necessary for us to organize ourselves and take charge of our own house. If we resolve to do the necessary work, to commit to the master plans of our own device, to undertake the economic revitalization of our own region, we will win the support and respect of powerful outside forces. If we fail to take control, control will inevitably be taken from us.
This is the land of Rip Van Winkle. With this report we climb into the highlands; we can sense the energy of the lightning and hear the thunderous roar of the game. We can not afford to fall asleep at this critical juncture, for it could be the sleep of a century not merely the loss of another twenty years.
The Boards are hereby asked to take the following actions as soon as possible:
1. To accept this report and the recommendations herein contained as the goals of our two-Town partnership, and to remain ready to do whatever is necessary - consistent with the well-being of our citizenry - to accomplish those goals. Page Four
2. To ratify the creation of the Central Catskills Planning Alliance put forth and to endorse the make-up of its board and the purposes of its efforts as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation presented.
3. To extend the mandate of the Route 28 Corridor Committee for another four months, charging them with the responsibility of recruiting the strongest possible board in accordance with the proportions set forth in the report, and with applying for the public and private grants necessary to support the work of the Alliance.
4. To support these tasks of the Committee with a contribution of $2,500 from each of the two Towns in order to cover the incorporation of the Alliance, the cost of grant-preparation consultants, and other activities necessary to begin this effort, and to demonstrate to those agencies and future sources of support whom the Alliance must approach that the Towns of Shandaken and Middletown - hard pressed as they are - nevertheless had sufficient belief in their own conception to put their scarcest resource on the table first.
Respectfully and unanimously submitted by the Route 28 Corridor Committee, this Fifteenth day of March, 1994.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND .................. 1
A. THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR: A BROAD VIEW .......... 4
B. BACKGROUND ........................... 7
C. PURPOSE OF STUDY ...................... 10
D. A COOPERATIVE APPROACH .................. 12
II. THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR TODAY .................. 14
A. POPULATION, ECONOMY AND INFRASTRUCTURE ...... 14
B. LAND USE PATTERNS ...................... 15
C. EXISTING DEVELOPMENT CONTROLS ............. 15
III. VISION OF THE FUTURE ........................ 16
A. THE OPPORTUNITY ....................... 16
B. TODAY AND TOMORROW--AS SEEN BY EXPERTS . . . . . . 17
C. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES .................... 20
IV. A CONCEPT FOR THE FUTURE OF THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR ... 23
A. CONCEPTUAL PLAN ....................... 23
B. BELLEAYRE DEVELOPMENT PLAN ............... 31
C. THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS BY RAIL ............. 36
V. IMPLEMENTATION ................ . ........... 46
A. LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE ......... 46
B. LAND USE CONTROLS AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS ... 51
C. FUNDING NEEDS AND NEXT STEPS .............. 53
1. ROUTE 28 - KINGSTON TO WARRENSBURG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2. THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3. CONCEPT PLAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
4. BELLEAYRE DEVELOPMENT POTENTIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
A. EXPERT TOURISM CONSULTANTS
B. PROPOSED CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION OF THE CENTRAL CATSKILLS PLANNING ALLIANCE
C. §284 OF THE TOWN LAW
D. LETTER FROM ROBERT C. BURGHER ASSOCIATES, ENGINEERS
IT IS THE UNANIMOUS RECOMMENDATION OF THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR COMMITTEE THAT THE TOWN OF SHANDAKEN, IN ULSTER COUNTY, AND THE NEIGHBORING TOWN OF MIDDLETOWN, IN DELAWARE COUNTY, FORM AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP FOR THE MASTER PLANNING, FINANCING, AND DEVELOPMENT OF A MAJOR, UNIFIED YEAR-ROUND "ENVIRONMENTAL RECREATION AND EDUCATION PROJECT" DESIGNED TO RESTORE THE AREA TO ITS FORMER PROMINENCE AS ONE OF THE WORLD'S PREMIERE VACATION DESTINATIONS.
1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
The Catskill Forest Preserve in upstate New York is an underutilized resource of significant potential. A metropolitan market of 21 million people lies within 100 miles of its eastern gateway. An additional 18 million people visit the metropolitan area annually, (6 million of them visitors from abroad, many from countries where a preserve as pristine as the Catskill Forest has not existed for decades).
For a variety of reasons, the area's original key facilities for tourism: world-class hotels, innumerable inns, guest-houses and summer resorts-all served by an efficient network of railroads--were allowed to deteriorate and, over the decades following World War II, all but disappear. Yet the Central Catskill region, within two hours drive of Manhattan, remains one of the most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness areas of America.
In the center of the region, along the state highway which is the main access to the Catskill State Park, in the midst of the highest peaks of the Catskills (including Belleayre Mountain, the area's major tourist facility), lie the Towns of Shandaken and Middletown. Once the destinations for vacationers from both the United States and Europe, the decline of the area's infrastructure and the paucity of new investment has reduced much of the Central Catskills to a level of economic desperation.
Yet millions of visitors per year--most of them day-trippers, annually traverse the Preserve, a major portion utilizing State Route 28. Though opportunities for year-round activity: skiing, white water rafting and tubing, hiking, fishing, hunting, biking, trail-riding, snow-mobiling, bird-watching, leaf-peeping, antique-seeking, arts and crafts browsing, fine dining and live music listening are sprinkled throughout the region, few adequate overnight facilities exist which would enable significant numbers of potential visitors to slow down and experience them. As local industry based on natural resources has declined and environmental pressures increased, the Catskills find themselves embattled, with a withering and aging population. The individual communities of the valley beds and along Route 28 are struggling for their life and the people of the Central Catskills seem to be starving in the midst of a feast.
For the Catskill Forest Preserve is a national treasure. When the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted its retrospective of the Hudson River School of Painters who opened the Valley and the Catskills to the world's attention, they called the exhibit "American Paradise"; and, indeed, in the first third of the 19th Century that's the way the world thought of it.
Rescued from the abuse and devastation of the tanning and logging industries which ravaged and denuded its mountains in the mid-19th Century, the Catskills today represent one of the world's few and most obvious environmental success stories. Protected for over 100 years by the State of New York as "Forever Wild", the Catskill State Park is once again that American paradise. And in the story of its reclamation lie object lessons for a world often discouraged by the magnitude of the environmental agenda.
The Catskill State Park is an ecological miracle and a testament to the connected efforts of generations of American conservationists from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Law Olmstead and John Muir (all of whom visited the area) to our own John Burroughs (who was born and lived most of his life here) and to Pete Seeger (who has lived in the region for the last forty years or so). Teeming with game and wildlife, most of the original creatures of the American northwoods again abound: deer, bear, fox, lynx; panther, coyote, wild turkey, bald eagle and a host of smaller beasts have proliferated to their primeval abundance.
The State of New York owns no less than 73% of the Shandaken acreage, including virtually all the mountain peaks. The City of New York owns additional land and its regulations control all of the streams and rivers. Thus the area remains a precious resource for the people of the State and the northeast, and a potential Mecca for tourism.
The park is not, however, user-friendly. No prominent gateway announces to the visitor his entrance to or exit from the Park. No welldesigned and unified system of signage directs him to the area's most interesting points. No first-class overnight facilities have been built in decades. Few of the family-oriented attractions and activities necessary to support a modern tourist area have been provided. No coordinated marketing approach designed to give the region a modern and attractive identity has been attempted.
The best hope for the economic future of Shandaken and Middletown and the seeds of increased prosperity for a number of hard-pressed communities in the adjacent towns depend upon amelioration of these circumstances and well conceived development of those areas not now under DEC or DEP ownership to create an Environmental Tourism District. In April 1993, the Regional Plan Association awarded a grant to the Town of Shandaken to pursue such an economic development strategy for the Route 28 Corridor.
A. THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR: A BROAD PERSPECTIVE
The Route 28 Corridor in the Towns of Middletown and Shandaken is the primary traverse through the Catskill State Park. Branching from its passage through the two towns are access roads to all of the counties which call themselves Catskill. For most of the traverse the highway is flanked by two unique resources: the Esopus Creek and the railbed of the old Ulster & Delaware Railway.
The Corridor in the two Towns covers 27% of the route's length in Delaware County and 49% of that in Ulster County. However, this is but one segment of a unique highway corridor that is not exclusively "Catskill" in character (see Map No. 1).
When one examines any road map of New York State (see Map No. 1), it becomes quickly evident that Route 28 doesn't just disappear into the hills of northwestern Delaware County, but instead continues along a somewhat improbable routing through Leatherstocking Country, the Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks--encompassing a wide palette of topography, geology, history and landscapes.
Extending over a 280 mile arc, starting just west of the Hudson River at Kingston, New York's first capital, and ending at Warrensburg, just north of scenic Lake George, Route 28 is the tenth longest state highway route in New York. Although various sections were at one time or another designated by other route numbers, the current Route 28 came about with the 1929-1930 state highway route renumbering. While the first 30 or so route numbers in the 1930 system were assigned primarily to the many straight north-to-south roads, and a few east-to-west roads as well, the engineers at the State Public Works Department created a somewhat anomalous circular route connecting Kingston and Warrensburg via Margaretville, Oneonta, Herkimer and Old Forge, traversing 7 counties (two of them twice).
Route 28 provides virtual direct connection to an incredible array of recreational and historical resources of eastern New York State-- ski areas at Belleayre and Gore Mountains, 10 Forest Preserve Campsites in the Adirondacks and Catskills combined, fishing opportunities on the Esopus and West Canada Creeks, Otsego, Canadarago Lakes and the Fulton Chain, and historic sites such as the Steuben Memorial near Remsen, the Hanford Mills Museum at East Meredith the Fort Herkimer Church, the Adirondack Museum, the Kingston Stockade District and, of course, the "Village of Museums"-- Cooperstown. Route 28 is the most direct, and the recommended route, to the Baseball Hail of Fame, the most famous of Cooperstown's museums which generates 400,000 visitors each year.
In spite of the availability of fast-speed interstate highways, many motorists are increasingly looking at the non-freeways--the "blue roads" as one author described them--for relief from heavy traffic, relentless speed, and visual monotony. The configuration of Route 28 between Kingston and Warrensburg is clearly not the shortest distance between two points, and few motorists today would intentionally use the entire route for such a trip purpose. But a day's drive along the road offers a unique slice of New York State for any visitor. Because of supportive work by Chambers of Commerce, other groups and legislators, 107 miles of Route 28 in the Adirondacks, 38% of its total length, has been designated as the "Central Adirondack Trail", as set forth in §342-m of New York State Highway Law. This "Tourist Trail" name is part of a program to coordinate efforts by government and private concerns in developing and increasing tourism in the designated areas. A similar approach to Route 28 in the Central Catskills--such as its designation as the "Catskill Parkway"--would offer it the special identity it deserves; and access to the parkway, at both Kingston and Cooperstown, should be identified and promoted.
Closer to home, Route 28 in Middletown and Shandaken has history unto itself. Portions of the road still follow sections of the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike, particularly between Pine Hill and Big Indian, and Shandaken and Phoenicia. These were among the first state highways to be built in New York, finished roughly by about 1905. (The section of Old Plank Road and Main Street between Phoenicia and Mount Tremper, now maintained by Ulster County, was completed as State Highway 16 in 1902.)
The State Department of Transportation considers Kingston as the southern terminus of Route 28 (in spite of the "east" and "west" directional signage encountered in Ulster and Delaware counties), and the Ulster and Delaware section of the route, because of its proximity to the New York City metropolitan area, gives the tourist an important "first impression" of this unique highway corridor. The route's length alone in Middletown and Shandaken, and the access it provides to many historic and recreational resources, underscores the need for a sound long-term planning vision for this highway within the Catskills.
Early Development in the Central Catskills
For nearly 200 years, the Central Catskills witnessed the evolution from wilderness to hardscrabble farming to industries based on natural resources--sawmills, gristmills, tanneries, furniture factories and blue stone quarries. The clean air and majestic view attracted artists and vacationers who flocked to new resorts. Railroads penetrated the valleys and climbed the mountains. Fishermen, hunters and, later, skiers came as well.
Establishment of the Catskill Park and the New York City Watershed
Two major events which have shaped the Central Catskills took place in the last years of the 19th Century.
In 1885, in response to excessive clearing of the mountain tops, the Catskill State Forest Preserve was established by the New York State Legislature to preserve as "forever wild" state lands within the preserve. The state has continued to acquire land for the past century and now owns nearly threequarters of the land in the Town of Shandaken. - Private lands are almost exclusively confined to the narrow stream valleys and hollows below the higher peaks.
Pressure to satisfy the needs of New York City for a safe and sufficient water supply increased after draughts in 1895 and 1896. Various schemes to provide new water supply sources were investigated over the next 10 years, culminating in 1905 when the New York State Legislature approved creation of the New York City Board of Water Supply with powers to establish reservoirs and regulate the watershed in the Catskill Mountains. That system now includes six reservoirs and a regulated watershed of over 1,600 square miles.
For the last century, these two events have had great impact on the economic life of the Central Catskills.
3. Watershed Regulations and Whole Community Planning
In response to new federal standards for public water supplies, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued new draft watershed regulations in September 1990. The 35 communities in the Catskill watershed organized the Coalition of Watershed Towns to respond to the regulations which they determined would have severe impacts on the economy of the region. The Coalition proposed, in February of 1992, an approach that would rely on locally developed plans for water quality protection--Whole Community Planning (WCP)--as an alternative to uniform regulations applied throughout the watershed. For the past two years, the City and the Coalition have negotiated to reach agreement on the guidelines, procedures, management and funding of such a program, including recognition of the pressing need to stimulate the local economy. In a document entitled "Watershed Protection Through Whole Community Planning--A Charter for Watershed Partnership", issued in September 1993 by then DEP Commissioner Albert F. Appleton, it was stated on page 23 that;
"Whole Community Planning fundamentally recognizes that economic and environmental protection interests are not mutually exclusive, but are intertwined. It also recognizes that local communities need a strategic,, long-term approach to community capacity-building that will help them to help themselves in maintaining and improving their economic and environmental infrastructures. In some cases, Whole Community Planning, like Whole Farm Planning, acknowledges that communities need incentives in order to accomplish both objectives. Such incentives are necessary to achieve the high water quality standards that the City demands.
Therefore, enhancing the competitiveness of the economy and its existing commercial centers will be one of the core goals of the Watershed Council. One of the major objectives of this locally driven organization will be to demonstrate the relationship between sound economic planning and watershed management and protection under Whole Community Planning."
C. PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY
The objective of the planning program undertaken over the past several months by the Route 28 Corridor Committee has been to develop a specific plan to guide land use, capitalize upon the ecological resources preserved by the New York DEC and leverage those resources with appropriate tourism development and infrastructure utilizing both public and private investment along the Route 28 Corridor (see Map No. 2). The work elements which have been sketched out by the Committee and which will require much greater technical, economic and design detail in the future include the following:
1. Preparation of a land use/economic development strategy to capitalize on the existing pattern of small hamlets connected by the strong transportation corridor. The plan distinguishes those economic land use activities most appropriate in the hamlets versus those which can be located along Route 28 and the criteria for each.
2. Preparation of a marketing strategy for expansion of the tourist industry based on Shandaken-Middletown's central location in the Catskill Forest Preserve and the growth of "eco-tourism".
3. Recommendations for necessary sewer and water system improvements and/or expansion to complement the land use strategy.
4. Consideration of an economic development stimulus program based on existing programs and those which can be created under the Whole Community Planning Program.
5. Development of management techniques to guide land use and protect environmental resources in conjunction with the development strategy.
6. Recommendation for an administrative structure to guide economic development, create a public-private partnership for investment in the Central Catskills and identify resources and techniques for financing development opportunities.
D. A COOPERATIVE APPROACH
The RPA Grant which funded this study was made directly to the Town of Shandaken for planning within the Town. However, the Route 28 Corridor Committee realized early in its work program that Town and County boundaries did not define logical limits for its efforts . The eastern Town boundary, at Mt. Tremper, is close by the proposed Catskill Interpretive Center--a logical entrance to the Central Catskill region. The western Town boundary, however--at Highmount--is at the center of the most dominant feature of the region--the Belleayre Ski Center.
The Route 28 Committee looked beyond the arbitrary governmental boundaries and determined that any economic development program for the Central Catskills must extend to include its western gateway--at Margaretville-Arkville in Delaware County. At a public meeting at the Belleayre Ski Center in November of 1993, Shandaken Supervisor Neil Grant invited the Town of Middletown and the Village of Fleischmanns to designate representatives to sit on the Route 28 Corridor Committee and help plan for the area upon which both Town's future depends. Alan Rosa, Supervisor of Middletown, and his entire Town Board responded positively and enthusiastically.
The joint inter-Town, inter-County effort which has developed is unique in the Catskills and represents a significant accomplishment in a region where each Town has always "gone it alone". This relationship is being furthered as the Town of Middletown undertakes preparation of its own comprehensive planning program which will be coordinated with the work of the Route 28 Corridor Committee.
II. THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR TODAY
A. POPULATION, ECONOMY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Despite its natural amenities, the Town of Shandaken has faced a continuing struggle to provide a stable economy for its residents as evidenced by the following statistics:
The Town of Shandaken has fewer residents today than it did in 1900. Population declined from 3,053 in 1900 to 1,875 in 1940; it has only gradually risen to 3,013 in 1990 although a far greater proportion are retired or underemployed.
The Town's 1990 median income of $22,154 was the lowest in Ulster County and was 35% below the County median of $34,033 and more than 25% below the national median.
The 1990 unemployment rate of 14.76% was the highest in the County, almost three times the County median and over twice the current national figure.
Of the Town's major hamlets--Phoenicia, Shandaken and Pine Hill-only Pine Hill has a sewage treatment plant. The Village of Fleischmanns, in Middletown, also lacks sewage treatment facilities. Growth in these hamlets is inhibited by this deficiency.
B. LAND USE PATTERNS
Land use in the Route 28 Corridor still reflects the historic pattern of small hamlets providing basic services separated by largely undeveloped lands. In recent years, a few residential, tourist related and convenience facilities have located along Route 28 as the new route by-passed several of the hamlets. In Middletown, the area's largest commercial /service center is located in the two mile strip west of Arkville which terminates in the Village of Margaretville business district.
C. EXISTING DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS
Both the Towns of Shandaken and Middletown have Zoning Laws and these controls establish the basic guidelines for land use and development along the Route 28 Corridor, including provisions to protect waterbodies and wetlands. While the laws are generally adequate, continued vigilance enforcement is always a difficult task for a small community with limited resources.
III. VISION OF THE FUTURE
A. THE KEY OPPORTUNITY
Economic development opportunities in the Central Catskills are severely limited by physical constraints, land ownership patterns and regulatory controls. These constraints, however, have combined to highlight tourism as the key opportunity upon which to build an economic future. The mountains, streams, vistas, wildlife and rural ambience of the Central Catskills provide a unique resource within 2 1/2 hours travel of over 20,000,000 people which has yet to be fully explored. Realization of this opportunity requires a hard look at existing realities as well as a vision of the future and a sound plan to achieve that vision.
It should be acknowledged that additional opportunities for economic activity exist and might well be encouraged and pursued within the framework of a new overall master plan for the ShandakenMiddletown region: retirement and life-care communities; controlled and appropriate second home development within designated and serviceable areas and population growth constraints; expanded first-home appeal to the new and emerging "telecommuting" generation through an expanded regional fibre-optic system; and environmentally appropriate small industry, primarily service and intelligence-based. These possibilities, however, lie beyond the scope of the present study.
B. TODAY AND TOMORROW--AS SEEN BY EXPERTS
In order to gain a comprehensive perspective from which to begin, a team of experts in tourism economics, planning, design, finance and development was convened by the Committee for an intensive two day workshop (see Exhibit A). The experts were asked to give their impressions of the Corridor today and to evaluate the constraints and opportunities for its future as a tourist destination. Their conclusions are summarized below:
1. Constraints and Liabilities
a. The arrival route from the east (the Thruway) is, long, uninteresting and, in some cases, unattractive until the visitors arrives at the first view of the mountains just east of Boiceville in the Town of Olive.
b. There is no sense of arrival to the Central Catskills as a specific destination, particularly from the east; no announcement at the Shandaken-Olive line that one is entering the "high peaks" area.
c. Route 28 is designed to move travelers through the Catskills quickly rather than to enjoy and experience the region. There are few well designed pull-offs and no other route delineated for the tourist who wishes to explore the valley.
d. There are no major transportation alternatives to get tourists out of their vehicles. The two tourist railroads are disconnected, their operating segments are very short, and fail to take advantage of the major scenic experiences which are accessible along the inactive segments of the rail lines.
e. The major scenic water body--Ashokan Reservoir--is not easily seen or identified from Route 28 and offers virtually no recreational opportunities.
f. There is no defined identity or theme of the area, its history, culture or traditions.
g. Few tourist shopping opportunities exist and they are not coordinated in any way.
h. There is no single major destination which warrants an over-night stay and serves as a magnet for the entire region.
i. There are few large lodging opportunities with facilities to serve tourists.
j. Large state land holdings and development restrictions limit opportunities for creation of major tourist facilities.
k. Lack of infrastructure hampers development even where it is possible.
l. Evidence of the region's declining economy is too often visibly evident.
m. The Belleayre Ski Center has limited capacity, short runs and limited seasonal use.
2. Opportunities and Assets
a. Vast expanses of scenic open space are preserved in perpetuity and accessible to the public.
b. The Belleayre Ski Center has the potential to become one of the finest ski destinations in the northeast if trails are expanded and it is linked to the 'nearby villages.
c. The region is accessible to over 20,000,000 people via an excellent road system.
d. The existing railroad lines are intact and can provide a major tourist attraction as well as alternative transportation network.
e. Existing hamlets and villages have unique character and can become focal points for development.
f. Widespread new attitudes toward and interest in the environment make eco-tourism a viable economic strategy, and emerging vacation patterns of several annual three-or-four-day breaks favor close-in destinations.
C. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The plans and implementation measures set forth in Sections I V and V below are based on the region's identified assets and.liabilities and designed to achieve the following goals and objectives:
1. The combined tourist attractions and facilities of the Central Catskills must be developed simultaneously to provide the critical mass necessary to create a major destination to attract new visitors and packaged and marketed in a manner consistent with vacation patterns of the 1990's. While an integrated long-term development can and should be phased, phase 1 must be of a scale sufficient to garner significant new tourist appeal and investment interest.
2. The Belleayre Ski Center, the major tourism asset of the Central Catskills, should be expanded to its maximum winter potential and supported by year-round sports and cultural facilities connected to lodging, restaurant and entertainment facilities to serve as the magnet for tourist visits.
3. Necessary infrastructure (sewage disposal and water supply) must be provided to allow concentration and expansion of development in Phoenicia, Shandaken, Pine Hill and Fleischmanns, and strategies integrating the remaining hamlets along Route 28 into a viable economic future must be developed. 4. Development opportunities outside the Villaes and hamlets should be limited to those major tourist facilities which require large sites in scenic locations, subject to necessary measures to protect the sensitive environment.
5. Four-season, long term tourist visitation must be encouraged by stimulation of a diversity of activities which serves a broad cross-section of the "family" tourist market.
6. The two railroad operating entities--the Catskill Mountain Railroad and the Delaware 1; Ulster Railroad--represent a unique and invaluable resource which would be the envy of other tourist regions across America and must be developed to their fullest potential. Their location along the Esopus Creek and Route 28 not only makes for unparalleled scenic views and access, but also provides a mechanism by which the many activity centers along the corridor can be economically and visually connected.
IV. A CONCEPT FOR THE FUTURE OF THE ROUTE 28 CORRIDOR
A. THE CONCEPTUAL PLAN
The 23 mile corridor from Mt. Tremper to Arkville is envisioned as a single multi-faceted tourist destination with various unique nodes connected by a variety of transportation links (see Map No. 3).
The center of the development calls for the maximization of facilities at Belleayre Mountain and the revitalization of the two villages at its base, Pine Hill and Fleischmanns. This circle of intensive yearround activity as the key locus of attraction will draw the number of over-night and day visitors sufficient to spark the construction of lodging and entertainment facilities at appropriate spots along the Route 28 Corridor through the two Towns, particularly at the two Gateway development areas: Phoenicia through Mt. Tremper in the east and Margaretville to Arkville/Halcottsville in the west.
An identifiable arrival point is important for the tourist. At the eastern end, the Mt. Tremper/Mt. Pleasant area adjacent to the proposed Catskill Interpretive Center is the clear choice. The Center provides an opportunity to present both an over-view of the Corridor as well as information as to specific features, events and destinations.
This eastern gateway should be announced by an overhead footbridge which connects the Long Path Trail and the southern bank of the Esopus to the Catskill Interpretive Center at the Hudler Flats. The character of the footbridge should be consistent with the overall design parameters which must be the signature of the region. This eastern gateway area should continue through the Catskill Corners project at Mt. Pleasant Road and embrace the renovation of the three existing lodging facilities at those corners: the Mt. Pleasant Lodge, the Mt. Pleasant Hotel and the Hasbrouk House. This area is also the logical location for a major railroad station which would accommodate the eastward extension of the Catskill Mountain Railroad to the Butternut Cove area of the Ashokan Reservoir, as well as an upgrading of the existing westward service into Phoenicia and the Empire Railway Museum.
The western gateway at Arkville, centered on the yards of the Delaware & Ulster railroad, - should be similarly highlighted; and the continued upgrading of the exteriors of buildings in the hamlet, which has been going on for some years, should be encouraged. This railhead should serve as the beginning of two rail rides: one eastward to Highmount connecting with a year-round aerial ride to the top of an expanded Belleayre, eventually extended as far as Big Indian, the gateway to the Slide Mountain and "high-peaks" experience of the Oliverea Valley; and one northward past the Hannah Country Club, possibly as far as the hamlet of Halcottsville.
Plans for the continued revitalization of the Village of Margaretville should be advanced in the closest cooperation with the overall tourism concept, as the Village stands to serve as the major commercial center for the new two-town development.
The various hamlets along the Corridor provide services to the visitor and should serve as the hubs for future concentrated development, other than that which requires a location with specific physical features. Each hamlet could promote a particular theme to establish its own identity, for example:
Phoenicia - tubing/railroads
Shandaken - fly fishing
Big Indian - hiking
Pine Hill - skiing
Fleischmanns - historic village
Arkville - railroads
The development of the hamlets and the concentration therein of new jobs and other economic opportunities (with the help of outside agencies), could conceivably be balanced by a long-range policy to preserve the remote hollows and uplands for the lowest density of development.
The villages of Pine Hill in Shandaken, and Fleisctnnanns in Middletown offer opportunities for expanded nightlife, and themed entertainment which will augment the daytime spenders of the environment. Market studies identifying the target audiences must be completed and serve as the touchstone for such designs, and care must be taken to assure an appropriate scale for such developments consistent with the ecology of the Park and with the existing patterns of "family" usage.
Fleischmanns, in particular, offers an opportunity for a quintessentially American "Main Street - Our Town" thematic development as a year-round entertainment and crafts venue. The area bordered by and incorporating Main Street and Wagner Avenue has perhaps the best potential in the region for such a unified thematic treatment.
Pine Hill, as a potential center of year-round outdoor activity and a vibrant apre-ski environment directly accessible from the mountain is topographically and geographically positioned to become--in the words of the Ulster County Planner, the "Aspen of the East"'
The Village of Phoenicia is already a vibrant center for tourism activity, outdoor sports, specialized retailing and dining. Its continued prosperity and expansion will depend on the incorporation into the overall infrastructure matrix of a contemporary central sewer and a simultaneous program to eliminate above-ground telephone and utility lines and poles.
3. Other Tourist Destinations
An array of tourist destinations geared to the many varied segments of the tourist market is essential to develop the Central Catskills as a complete, family oriented recreation area. These may be located in the hamlets or in locations suited to their particular requirements. Among those existing or potential facilities that can be identified at this point are the following:
a. Active Recreation Facilities including tubing, water slides and hiking depend on locations with particular physical characteristics and must, by necessity, be located where they exist. Identification of each and ready access is essential. The major recreation facility, Belleayre Ski Center, is discussed in greater detail in Section B. below.
b. Passive Recreation Facilities include the Catskill Interpretive Center, other environmental education opportunities and the Empire State Railroad Museum in Phoenicia.
c. Shopping is one of the favorite pass-times of tourists and shops which develop specific themes from the region or unusual merchandise add considerably to the mix. While most of these can benefit from the proximity of other shops in the hamlets, other free-standing facilities with their own identity can also be appropriate if developed so as to maintain the character of the Corridor.
At the recent 1994 Crafts Fair of the American Crafts Council in Baltimore, perhaps the premiere national showing of the finest in American crafts, it was clear that there is a heavy concentration of top-of-the line craftspeople who live and work within a fifty-mile radius of Belleayre extending from Stone Ridge to Cooperstown. They have not, however, utilized the immediate area as an outlet for their work. That opportunity should be developed and presented to them under the two-Towns' overall tourism plans.
d. Lodging Facilities, depend on tourists but facilities which are unique in terms of setting and facilities can also generate tourists as was demonstrated by the early resorts over 100 years ago. Several sites in the Corridor could support larger resort hotels than presently exist with magnificent views, attached recreation facilities and direct access to hiking or skiing trails or horseback riding and pack train trails.
Rather than recreate the oversized resorts of Sullivan County and the southern part of Ulster County, four or five 100-room facilities built over a five to ten year period would be far more viable than either a multiplicity of smaller units or dependence on a mammoth new resort. These four or five facilities must, of course, be built in the places nature, not man, has designated, and existing regulations should be modified to take this accommodation into account.
The investments required to create these new hotels and facilities will only be justified when the region has spawned a diversity of outdoor, cultural and entertainment facilities available on a year-round basis.
Transportation modes can be made a part of the recreation experience. While tourists will arrive in the area by car, it is important to offer various alternatives to allow them to experience the area from different vantage points, at slower speeds, and to give them access to other facilities at the same time.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad is the most obvious alternative and the one with the greatest potential (see Section C. below for a more detailed discussion). It offers unique views of the mountains, streams and the Ashokan Reservoir and connects virtually every feature along the Corridor. Some tourists may wish to just go for a ride; however, if the ride provides the opportunity to stop at another attraction, everyone benefits.
Other modes also offer the potenti.al for transport and recreation. Horseback trails, canoeing, wagon rides, snow mobiling and others should all be encouraged.
5. Coordination of Efforts
Outside agencies seeking to carry out their own agendas in the Shandaken-Middletown region must be led to dovetail their needs and plans with the long-term tourism master plan of the two Towns. For example, any land acquisition program which the City of New York may be allowed to embark upon, should have as a key goal the protection of the viewsheds along Route 28 in those areas outside the designated tourism development district. Other City plans should also be reviewed at an early juncture to ensure compatibility with the tourism objectives of the Town. For example, several studies over the years have pointed to the need for a major iceskating facility in the region to augment skiing. The Towns and the City should explore ways in which the required new covering for the Pine Hill Water Treatment Plant might be configured as just such a skating facility in imitation of the manner in which the City built the upper west side park over their new solid waste facility.
B. BELLEAYRE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Although the Belleayre Ski Center is the largest single recreation attraction in the Corridor, it has not been developed to achieve its full potential as a major tourist destination and suffers from the deficiencies discussed earlier. Both the problems and potential of Belleayre have been recognized for many years. A 1963 Feasibility Study for the Conservation Department of the State Division of Lands and Forests, prepared by Volmer Associates, stated;
"Proximity to New York and good road connections which have made Belleayre so successful have also made the one day ski trip not only plausible but prevalent. Skiers with more time favor northern resorts where snow is more dependable and hotel accommodations more diversified."
The same study envisioned a dramatic future.
Ultimate Winter Development. Although no detailed proposals have been made for Area D [east of the existing trails] there are exciting possibilities--a lower lift could connect the village of Pine Hill with a new base area; a second lift could run from the base area to a new summit point. Trails would connect with the present upper base area, the new area and Pine Hill. Both the Village and Belleayre would benefit by this arrangement, since parking requirements would be minimized.
A more recent study prepared in 1988 by Sno-Engineering, Inc. for the DEC evaluated this "ultimate development" in greater detail and produced an expansion plan with nearly 20 new intermediate and expert trails (many with twice the vertical drop of the existing upper mountain) new lifts, a gondola to a new summit, a new lodge and supporting facilities (see Map No. 4). After a recent visit, Walter R. Elander, Executive Vice President of Sno. Engineering, reiterated his firm's enthusiasm for Belleayre's potential in a letter to Dean Gitter, Chairman of the Route 28 Corridor Committee:
"As far as the skiing potential is concerned, the terrain which lies to the east of the existing Belleayre complex exhibits some of the most attractive advanced intermediate and expert skiing in the northeast. The addition of this terrain to the existing Belleayre trails network would improve Belleayre's marketability significantly."
The letter also includes an estimate that the expanded ski center I would create between 600 to 800 jobs. An expanded year-round resort complex within the two towns might well at least double that figure.
Joe Cushing, reputed to be one of the most experienced mountain engineers in the world, was co-author of the 1988 Sno-engineering report. He is an avid supporter of its recommendations for eastern expansion and trail extension into a revitalized Pine Hill, pointing out that the opportunity to ski down an exciting mountain into the heart of a thriving village is the goal of all winter resort designers. Only in the Alps and parts of the Rocky Mountains has this been achieved. Privately, his co-author, Eiander, opined that were the 1988 plan carried out, it would produce "the finest skiing in the East, south of Stowe".
However, the 1988 plan was not well received in the community--not because of its proposed ski facilities, but due to the perceived impact on the village of Pine Hill in terms of land acquisition and suggested land uses. This was due in part to the approach taken by the consultants and in part to the manner of its presentation to the community. The Committee has reexamined the plan and offers some alternatives which would reduce the impact on Pine Hill while retaining virtually all of the ski facilities. ?????? involve the following guidelines and features to reduce the impact, on Pine Hill;
1. Major parking and lodge facilities would be concentrated and accessible only from the west via a new connection to the main Belleayre access road.
2. The lift from Bailey Hollow to the new summit (a gondola or high speed chair) would be accessible only from the ski slopes or via rail (see 3 below) so that no development below the railroad would be necessary. The gondola would also provide access to a viewing tower in the summer.
3. The rail line would be used to connect (a) Highmount Station to (b) the new lodge and parking area to (c) the lift at the bottom of Bailey Hollow and, potentially, to (d) the state facilities at Pine Hill lake and (e) the Village of Fleischmanns for visitors in both winter and summer.
This modified plan would not require any vehicular access via Piney Hill and would involve only a few properties not already in state ownership. As development proceeded, pedestrian and secondary vehicular connection from Pine Hill could be created if deemed appropriate by the community. Such connections would tie the ski center and village together, expand the potential of lodging and restaurants to capture skier trade and create the unified "ski village" that is rare in the northeast.
The development of Belleayre in conformity with the 1988 plan, as modified above, would serve as the central revitalizing element for the entire 210-square mile area comprised by the two Towns. Were a cohesive overall tourism region developed with Belleayre as its centerpiece, it has been estimated that it would create within its first five years some 1,200 to 1,500 new jobs and contribute upwards of one-half billion dollars a year to the economies of Ulster and Delaware counties.
The winter capacity of the mountain would be increased to a "comfortable carrying capacity" of 10,000 skiers per day and as many as 500-600,000 a season could be attracted. Were that number augmented by an equal number of visitors during the other three seasons, then an annual visitation of a million to 1.2 million is possible--a number which stretched out over twelve months can easily be accommodated within the present road structure and one which would certainly peak the economic interest of potential hotel developers.
C. THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS BY RAIL
1. The Past
The Ulster & Delaware Railroad was built in 1885 and designed to reach from the Hudson River at Kingston Point to Stamford. Its passage up the steep slopes of Belleayre Mountain to Highmount, at the county line, required a horseshoe bend of track and switchbacks which were, in that era, marvels of engineering. The line became the central spine for a network of railroads which crisscrossed the Catskills and upstate New York, giving access to hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets and spawning a summer tourist trade of huge dimensions where dozens of camps and resorts were accessible by horse-drawn wagons from each of innumerable tiny stations.
With the first development of ski facilities in the Catskills at Simpson's Slope outside Phoenicia, ski train service from New York City was inaugurated and provided immensely popular for several years. By the end of the 1950's, however, the advent of universal air conditioning, the increased mobility of an affluent middle class, and the national availability of a more attractive form of accommodation pioneered by Holiday Inn and its competitors, had so changed popular tastes in vacation habits, that a continued and irreversible decline in the resort business of the Catskills led to the demise of passenger service on the Ulster 8 Delaware in 1954.
With the completion of the Interstate highway system, freight railways found themselves under increasing pressure, manufacturers looked to locate at or near major highway intersections, and in 1976, the Ulster 8 Delaware, then operated bythe near-bankrupt Pennsylvania Railroad, ceased freight operations on that line and ran its last train. Grass began to grow between the rails.
But with the Pennsylvania's decision to sell the line, a bold new prospect arose. Ulster County, spurred by its County Planner's office, determined to acquire the line from Kingston Point to Highmount, to recreate passenger service linking the River with the Mountains, and to create a linear park through the communities along the railbed which would serve as the backbone of a revived tourist industry. Central to the concept was the acquisition of the country's largest collection of steam engines, coaches and memorabilia from the Steamtown Corporation in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and the establishment of a themed attraction at the important and highly observable site at the confluence of Route 28 and the New York Thruway. From there, day-trippers would be able to take scenic rides across the margins of the Ashokan reservoir--a passage which offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and where several of the high peaks of the Catskills descend to dabble their feet at the water's edge. Key facilities would be developed in the hamlets along the continued westward path of the train.
This "Gateway Project", as it was called, excited considerable interest and spawned a number of moves: the County acquired the railroad right-of-way from Penn Central, Marriott Hotels tentatively agreed to build a facility at the Steamtown park site (and subsequently became so enamored of the resort possibilities of Ulster County that it acquired an option on the property of Hotel Minnewaska and developed plans for a major complex on that site in the Shawangunk Mountains to the east). Plans for the Project were developed in increasing detail by a succession of consulting companies and popular support began to mount.
Fate and the times intervened and determined that the Project would not fly. A major economic downturn in the late 1970's was set in motion by the Arab Oil Embargo; tourist activity by car was severely curtailed; the business climate in the Catskills deteriorated rapidly; and interest rates rose to 22% and above. The Federal Government cut back or eliminated the major financing programs available for transportation purposes. The Steamtown collection was purchased by interests in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In the face of persistent and determined local opposition, Marriott withdrew from Minnewaska and lost all interest in the Gateway Project as a consequence. Another era of economic gloom settled over the mountains, and the grass between the tracks was giving way to brush.
2. The Present
The story of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad had not yet come to an end, however. Ulster County now owned the line from Kingston Point to Highmount and the Board of Supervisors of Delaware County moved to acquire the Delaware portion for the County and did so--though not before the Pennsylvania had sold miles of track starting at the northwestern most end of the County which a licensee proceeded to rip up and sell for scrap.
Two determined groups then came into existence. A profit - vectored stock company called the Catskill Mountain Railroad came into being and eventually was granted a 25-year lease on the Ulster County right-of-way. And a not-for-profit group called the Catskill Revitalization Corporation arose in Delaware County, renaming its operation the Delaware Ulster Railroad.
For various reasons, the two groups were never able to make common cause and to cooperate on programs which would reach across county lines and possibly inure to their mutual benefit. Their histories began to diverge markedly. The Delaware received the consistent and generous support of the O'Connor Foundation, and with the influx of sums said to aggregate as much as $9 million over several years, the Delaware 8 Ulster was able to build an impressive railyard at Arkville, acquire and rehabilitate a large inventory of rolling stock, re-build key grade crossings on Route 28 and 30, and commence scenic rides northwestward toward Halcottsville, and eastward toward Fleischmanns and Highmount.
For the Catskill Mountain Railroad, life was more difficult. Always underfinanced and maintained only by the grit, physical labor and determination of its owners and volunteers, they steadily built up sweat equity and continued to fulfill the obligation they had undertaken to the county to rehabilitate one mile of track a year up to Class I (15 mph or less) standards. For several years and through the present moment they have operated an open-air shuttle service for tubers from Mt. Pleasant to Phoenicia (where an affiliated organization has established the Empire State Railway Museum) and a leaf -peepers' excursion train in the weeks of peak foliage in the fall. It has annual ridership in the 6,000 passenger range over a limited operating season of about 40 days.
The Catskill Revitalization Corporation, meanwhile, began to lose ridership and endured continuing operational losses, while its chief financial supporter indicated an unwillingness to indefinitely subsidize a losing proposition. (Both railbeds suffered severe washouts at several paints during the 50-year flood of 1979 and the 100-year flood of 1987). New management has taken over the operation in Delaware as a "Rail Ride", and hopes to steadily build usage over five years to reach profitability. It claims current annual ridership in the 14,000 range operating primarily during the summer months.
Both operations have explored HUD, ISTEA and other Federal and State grants, so far without notable success. Most such programs are based on job creation, and railway expenditures are understandably unbalanced toward the capital equipment side.
3. The Future
It was the unanimous conclusion of the consultants to the Route 28 Corridor Committee who took part in the October think-tank sessions, that the railroad offered a spectacular and unique opportunity to any overall effort at tourism revitalization in the central Catskills. In this they were unwittingly in total agreement with the plans earlier produced by the Gateway consultants, specifically the Linear Park concept produced by the Cambridge Seven and Economics Research Associates in the early 1980's.
It became clear that any program of infrastructure improvement dedicated to winter facilities at Belleayre, sewer systems for Phoenicia and Fleischmanns, and Route 28 overpasses and underpasses for pedestrians, must also include the early and rapid restoration of key sections of the railbed and its crossings. This vital link, in conjunction with the visual protection of Route 28, the east-west flow of the adjacent Esopus and other Creeks, and a unified plan and design theme, would have the most immediate and perhaps greatest effect in knitting the tourism districts of Shandaken and Middletown into a coherent whole in the minds of potential visitors.
With this prospect in mind, the Route 28 Corridor Committee invited management of both the Delaware and the Ulster railroad operations to an exploratory meeting. It was evident that each had its own--and distinct--plans for its future. Each had an agenda which included elements as disparate as freight, essential passenger transportation, dinner rides, staged hold-ups and Indian attacks as well as scenic rides. And each had analyzed its needs and priorities in separate ways. There were also potential administrative problems caused by the fact that one operation was non-profit while the other was intended to make a profit.
But it was also clear that each side saw the synergistic opportunities in future cooperation, that each was beset by large and difficult present challenges; and that a new overall tourism initiative would benefit both. And that there was a new willingness to explore cooperation with each other and with the new planning alliance of Shandaken and Middletown.
A railroad sub-committee was formed under the chairmanship of the Middletown Town Attorney with representation by designees of the Boards of both operations. Joint exploratory meetings were held and the sub-committee also attended a major conference on the future of the whole former Ulster & Delaware convened by the Catskill Center.
The happy upshot of this cooperation to date is as follows:
Both managements are prepared to continue explorations of mutual opportunities.
Both managements are willing to cooperate with the new planning alliance. Both managements are willing--without ceding any of their operational prerogatives--to give first priority to those parts of their own future operational plans which best suit the needs of an overall tourism initiative-providing that initiative makes itself responsible for the necessary capital and operating funds entailed by the elements needed first for the overall tourism district.
The following six elements should be given high priority as more detailed plans are developed for the Rout 28 Corridor:
1. Establishment of a scenic run from Mt. Pleasant back to the spectacular views over the Ashokan Reservoir at Butternut Cove.
2. Upgrading of the present service from Mt. Pleasant to Phoenicia and the Empire State Railway Museum.
3. Shuttle service from remote parking lots to base ski lodges at Highmount and Pine Hill.
4. Restoration of the railbed from Arkville to Highmount interfacing with a year-round aerial tramway or scenic gondola ride to the top of Belleayre Mountain.
5. Upgrading of a tourism attraction at Halcottsville to be serviced by a scenic ride from Arkville.
6. Extension of service from Pine Hill down to Big Indian interfacing with new and existing facilities and attractions in the Oliverea Valley.
A. LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE
Realization of the goals and plans formulated by the Route 28 Corridor Committee will be a complicated task. It requires legal powers, funding mechanisms and administrative responsibility which reside in local, county and state government as well as private enterprise. If the effort is to be successful, a framework must be established which coordinates, delegates and assumes the many tasks and responsibilities involved. The Committee recommends the organizational structure discussed below to guide the next steps of planning development:
The Central Catskill Planning Alliance (CCPA )
The first entity created to formalize the partnership that has been initiated between the Towns of Shandaken and Middletown must provide over-sight, guidance and coordination of the total effort. The Central Catskill Planning Alliance should be created with the following membership and responsibilities:
The Alliance would consist of a nine member Board representing the Towns of Shandaken and Middletown plus the three other bodies who have an inescapable influence on the future of the area, as follows:
Three representatives from the Town of Shandaken.
Three representatives from the Town of Middletown, including one from the Village of Fleischmanns and one from the Village of Margaretville.
One representative designated by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
One representative designated by the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
One representative of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development.
b. Functions and Duties
The Alliance will be responsible for most of the initial actions to implement the development plan and will retain continuing duties as the plan evolves, as follows:
(1) Delineation of the boundaries of a special tourism district(s) which may, in the future, be the subject of an intermunicipal agreement between the two Towns to plan and regulate land use for the purpose of protecting, enhancing and developing the resources of the Route 28 Corridor. Such an agreement is authorized by §284 of the Town Law (see Exhibit C) and could create an "intermunicipal overlay district" which, upon approval, would be administered by each Town.
(2) Preparation of applications for funding to assist realization of plans for the Corridor.
(3) Development of marketing and promotion efforts to encourage appropriate investment in the Corridor.
(4) Coordination and promotion of participation by residents and businesses in the planning and development program.
(5) Assistance in the creation and establishment of the other entities required for financing and development of specific activities in the Corridor.
A proposed Certificate of Incorporation of the Alliance is attached as Exhibit B.
2. Other Possible Agencies
a. Non-Profit Agency(s)
In the future, one or more agencies will be needed to perform the following functions of a quasigovernmental nature:
(1) To develop the economic plan for the Corridor, coordinating public and private_ development efforts, funding and preparing feasibility studies and seeking funds for public facilities and infrastructure.
(2) To receive private and public funds to be used to issue loans to private parties for rehabilitation or new development of projects consistent with the Corridor Plan.
(3) To establish criteria for loan recipients and to devise terms and procedures for such loans that will provide incentives to private development.
(4) To acquire property for future resale for development in accord with the Corridor Plan.
b. For Profit Development Corporation
The development program contemplated in this report will require a major infusion of private funds. While independent development opportunities for local businessmen will be available, it is important that an entity be created with capacity to generate significant capital over an extended time period and include both local and national investors. Such a profit oriented corporation should include firms who specialize in the major facilities required for a large scale tourist area-hotels, conference centers, ski facilities, etc.-Formation of such a corporation to spearhead the private side of the public-private partnership is necessary to realize the economic benefits of the proposed Central Catskill development strategy. It depends on a close, coordinated working relationship with state and federal funding sources.
B. LAND USE CONTROLS AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS
To accomplish the development concept for the Route 28 Corridor, it will be necessary to establish groundrules for land use and design themes to create the integrated tourist destination envisioned. The infrastructure needed to support the land use plan must also be identified.
1. Land Use Controls and Guidelines
The distribution of land uses within the Route 28 Corridor is adequately controlled by the Town of Shandaken Zoning Law. Similar regulations have been enacted in Middletown (although the Village of Fleischmanns does not yet have zoning). Most commercial uses are allowed in concentrations at the several hamlets; uses which depend on natural resources (logging, mining, etc. ) or are oriented to tourists (restaurant, hotels, etc. ) are allowed elsewhere via a special permit from the Planning Board. While "fine-tuning" of the Zoning Law may be necessary with regard to some standards and use delineations, the development of themes for site and building design is most important to the visual enhancement of Route 28. To the maximum extent possible, the natural features of the Corridor should be the dominant visual element. Manmade development should recede to the background or enhance a common theme. Signage is essential to the function of any resort/recreation area. Use of well designed common signs (such as at the entrance to Big Indian) not only helps the visitor but makes the statement that the area is a wellorganized, coordinated unit.
2. Infrastructure Needs
The two largest concentrations in the Corridor--Phoenicia and Fleischmanns lack central sewage disposal systems. This deficiency not only stifles the opportunity for economic growth but leads to environmental degradation.
The Village of Fleischmanns is currently evaluating the feasibility of various solutions to its sewage disposal needs using a grant from the Regional Plan Association. This study is nearing completion and will not only suggest the most efficient means for Fleischmanns to solve its problem but, also, may provide direction for other villages and hamlets in the same straits.
The need for a sewer system in Phoenicia has been discussed for many years. A knowledgeable local engineering consultant has estimated that a system to serve the existing water district would cost $2.75 to 4.0 million (see Exhibit D).
C. FUNDING NEEDS AND NEXT STEPS
This report sets forth a vision for a preliminary economic strategy and plan for the Route 28 Corridor. The plan is extremely ambitious and will require extensive governmental support and both public and private funding. The most immediate need is the financial resources to undertake the detailed applications, studies and plans necessary to secure public and private investment, including the following:
1. Development of an organizational structure to direct and administer the initial efforts of the Central Catskill Planning Alliance.
2. Detailed analysis of the tourist market to which the Central Catskills should direct its efforts with visitor profiles, spending patterns, duration of stay, etc.
3. Further feasibility studies of key elements such as Belleayre expansion plans, hotel/ conference center development, railroad revitalization, etc.
4. Analysis of the legal tools necessary to pursue a two town, bicounty development agreement.
It is recommended that, as one of the next steps, the two Towns jointly apply for a planning grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development District (REDD) to undertake all of the above studies. The job creation and economic investment opportunities inherent in the strategy proposed here should be attractive to the Department of Economic Development.
Other potential state and federal funding sources for detailed planning must be identified as well as for early implementation projects. While many of the actions proposed in this strategy require a substantial lead time, it is important that some results be demonstrated quickly. One such activity should be designation of the Route 28 Corridor as the Central Catskill Highway, as suggested earlier, and development of a signage program to reflect the designation on the ground and in tourist publications and maps.
EXPERT TOURIST CONSULTANTS
Theme Park Design
C.T. HSU International Orlando, Florida
Represented by: Chris Miles, Principal
Office of Thomas J. Martin
Represented by: Thomas Martin
Littleton, New Hampshire
Represented by: Timothy H. Beck, President
The Surry Company Inc.
Represented by: Robert D. Carroll
Sociate Bank House
Represented by: Barbara K. Kravitz, Governor
CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION OF CENTRAL CATSKILLS PLANNING ALLIANCE, INC. UNDER SECTION 402 OF THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION LAW
We, the undersigned, for the purpose of forming a local development corporation, to hereby certify:
FIRST: The name of the corporation shall be the Central Catskills Planning Alliance.
SECOND: The Corporation is a corporation as defined in subparagraph (a)(5) of section 102 (Definitions) of the Not-forProfit Corporation Law and is a local development corporation pursuant to section 1411 of said law.
THIRD: The purposes for which the corporation is formed are the exclusively charitable or public purposes as follows:
a. To relieve and reduce adult unemployment, promote provide for additional and maximum adult employment, better and maintain adult job opportunities, instruct or train individuals to improve or develop their capabilities for such jobs, for the purposes of aiding the Middletown-Shandaken area by attracting new business to said area and to lessen the burdens of government and act in the public interest.
b. To protect, develop and promote the central Catskills region as a major environmental region and tourist destination.
c. To encourage the economic revitalization of the Towns of Middletown and Shandaken.
d. To educate local, state and federal administrative bodies and private entities in order to encourage their asistance in advancing the economic revitalizaation of the area.
e. To protect enhance, and develop the resources of the Route 28 Corridor and designate tourism development districts.
f. To encourage and assist in appropriate investment in the region. To foster and encourage participation by local residents
g. and businesses in the planning and development process.
h. To assist and facilitate the creation and establishment of additional entities necessary for the successful development of the Route 28 Corridor and its tourism districts.
In furtherance of the aforesaid purposes, the corporation shall have all the powers conferred by paragraph (c) of section 1411 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.
The corporation may do any other act or thing incidental to or connected with the foregoing purposes or in advancement thereof, but not for the pecuniary profit or financial gain of its members, directors or officers, except as permitted under Articles 5 and 14 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law and Article 8 of the Public Authorities Law.
Nothing herein contained shall authorize the corporation, directly or indirectly, to engage in or include among its purposes any of the activities mentioned in section 404 of the Not-for Profit Corporation Law or section 460-a of the Social Services Law.
Nothing herein contained shall authorize or empower the corporation, directly or indirectly, to engage in or include among its purposes any activity prohibited by New York General Business Law subsection 340 or any other New York anti-monopoly law, and the corporation is not authorized so to engage.
FOURTH: The corporation shall be a Type C corporation under section 201 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.
FIFTH: The lawful public or quasi-public objectives which each business purpose will achieve are the following: the training of community residents in the development of their business skills; the reduction of adult unemployment; the promotion of maximum adult employment by bettering and maintaining adult job opportunities; the stimulation of the economic growth of the community.
SIXTH: All income and earnings of such corporation shall be used exclusively for its corporate purposes or accrue and be paid to the New York Job Development Authority.
SEVENTH: No part of the income or earnings of such corporation shall inure to the benefit or profit of, nor shall any distribution of its property or assets be made to any member or private person, corporate, or individual, or any other private interest [except that the corporation is hereby authorized pursuant to section 1411 (e) (2) of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law to repay loans and repay contributions (other than dues) to the corporation, but only if and to the extent that any such contribution may not be allowable as a deduction in computing taxable income under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954].
EIGHTH: If the corporation accepts a mortgage loan from the New York Job Development Authority, the corporation shall be dissolved in accordance with the provision of section 1411(g) of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law upon the repayment or other discharge in full by the corporation of all such loans.
NINTH: The office of the corporation shall be located in the County of [Ulster] [Delaware], State of New York.
TENTH: The names and addresses of the initial directors until the first annual meeting, each of whom is at least eighteen years of age, are as follows:
ELEVENTH: The Secretary of State of the State of New York is hereby designated the agent of the corporation upon whom process against it may be served. The post office address to which the Secretary of State shall mail a copy of any process against the corporate served upon him as agent of the corporation is
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we, the undersigned incorporators, being all at least eighteen years of age,. have [signed this certificate and caused it to be acknowledged] [subscribed this certificate and hereby affirm it as true under the penalties of perjury] this day of , 1994.
INTERMUNICIPAL COOPERATION IN PLANNING & ZONING
Sponsored in Senate: Cook, Kehoe, McHugh, Seward, Nolan, Quattrociocchi
Sponsored in Assembly: Magee, Bennett, Luster, Tonko, Coombe, O Neil
Section 1. Section two hundred eighty-four of the town law is hereby renumbered as section two-hundred eighty-five, and a new section two hundred eighty-four added to read as follows:
§ 284. Intermunicipal cooperation in comprehensive planning and land use regulation.
1. Legislative Intent. This section is intended to illustrate the statutory authority that any municipal corporation has under article five-G of the general municipal law to enter into agreements to undertake comprehensive planning and land use regulation. By the enactment of this section the legislature seeks to promote intergovernmental cooperation that could result in increased coordination and effectiveness of comprehensive planning and land use regulation, more efficient use of infrastructure and municipal revenues, as well as the enhanced protection of community resources, especially where such resources span municipal boundaries.
2. Authorization and effects. In addition to any other general or special powers vested in a town to prepare a comprehensive plan and enact land use regulations, by local law or ordinance, rule or regulation, each town is hereby authorized to enter into, amend, cancel and terminate agreements with any other municipal corporation or corporations to undertake all or a portion of such powers, functions and duties. Such agreements shall apply only to the performance or exercise of any function or power which each of the municipal corporation has the authority by any general or special law to prescribe, perform, or exercise separately.
3. Definitions. As used herein:
a. "Municipal corporation", means a city, town. or village.
b. "Town comprehensive plan", means the materials, written and/or graphic, including, but not limited to maps, charts, studies, resolutions, reports and other descriptive material as may be appropriate, that identify the goals, objectives, principles, guidelines, policies, standards, devices and instruments for the immediate and long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development of the town located outside the limits of any incorporated village and which, among other things, serves as a basis for functional plans, land use regulation, infrastructure development, public and private investment.
c. "Land use regulation", means an ordinance or local law enacted by a municipal corporation for the regulation of any aspect of land use and community resource protection and includes any zoning, subdivision, or site plan regulation or any other regulations which prescribe the appropriate use of property or the scale, location, and intensity of development.
d. "Community resource", means a specific public facility, infrastructure system, or geographic area of special economic development, environmental, scenic, cultural, historic, recreational, parkland, open space, natural resource, or other unique significance, located wholly or partially within the boundaries of one or more given municipal corporations.
e. "Intermunicipal overlay district", means a special land use district which encompasses all or a portion of one or more municipal corporations for the purpose of protecting, enhancing, or developing one or more community resources as provided herein.
4. Intermunicipal agreements. In addition to any other powers granted to municipalities to contract with each other to undertake joint, cooperative agreements any municipality may:
a. create a consolidated planning board which may replace individual planning boards, if any, which consolidated planning board shall have the powers and duties as shall be determined by such agreement.
b. create a consolidated zoning board of appeals which may replace individual zoning boards of appeals, if any, which consolidated zoning board of appeals shall have the powers and duties as shall be determined by such agreement;
c. create a comprehensive plan.and/or land use regulations which may be adopted independently by each participating municipal corporation;
d. provide for a land use administration and enforcement program which may replace individual land use administration and enforcement programs, if any, the terms and conditions of which shall be set forth in such agreement; and
e. create an intermunicipal overlay district for the purpose of protecting, enhancing, or developing community resources that encompass two or more municipalities.
5. Special considerations.
a. Making joint agreements. Any agreement made pursuant to the provisions of this section may contain provisions as the parties deem to be appropriate, and including provisions relative to the items designated in paragraphs a through m inclusive as set forth in subdivision two of section one hundred-nineteen of the general municipal law.
b. Establishing the duration of agreement. Any local law developed pursuant to the provisions of this section may contain procedures for periodic review of the terms and conditions, including those relating to the duration, extension or termination of the agreement.
c. Amending local laws or ordinances. Local laws or ordinances shall be amended, as appropriate, to reflect the provisions contained in intermunicipal agreements established pursuant to the provisions of this section.
6. Appeal of action by aggrieved party or parties. Any officer, department, board or bureau of any municipality with the approval of the legislative body, or any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any act or decision of a planning board, zoning board of appeals or agency created pursuant to the provisions of this section may bring a proceeding by article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules in a court of record on the ground that such decision is illegal, in whole or in part. Such proceeding must be commenced within thirty days after the filing of the decision in the office of the town clerk. Commencement of the proceeding shall stay proceedings upon the decision from which the appeal is taken. All issues in any proceeding under this section shall have a preference over all other civil actions and proceedings.
7. Any agreements made between two or more municipalities pursuant to article five-G of the general municipal law or other law which provides for the undertaking of any land use regulation or activity on a joint, cooperative or contract basis, if valid when so made, shall not be invalidated by the provisions of this section.
8. The provisions of this section shall be in addition to existing authority and shall not be deemed or constructed as a limitation, diminution or derogation of any statutory authority authorizing municipal cooperation.
ROBERT C. BURGHER & ASSOCIATES
PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING & LAND SURVEYING
P.O. BOX 190, MAIN STREET
PHOENICIA, NEW YORK 12464
ROBERT C. BURGHER, P.E. & L.S.
MATHEW BURGHER, R.L.S.
REX SANFORD, C.E.
March 15, 1994
Mr. Dan Shuster
RD 1, Box 259
Stone Ridge, N.Y. 12484
As per your request, our office has put together a brief "ball park" estimate for a public sewer plant and collection system for the Hamlet of Phoenicia. At this stage we are assuming the sewer district limits to be the same as the water district. This is due to the fact that flow data is only available for this particular area. The attached location map shows the existing district limits and the proposed site for the sewage treatment plant.
Sewage Treatment Plant/Collection System Estimate
Based upon preliminary flow numbers obtained from the Ulster County Health Department, it is estimated that a sewage treatment plant would likely cost in the range of $2.0 to $2.5 million. This is based on a plant cost of approximately $10 per gallon of wastewater. A collection system serving the existing district would likely cost in the range of $0.75 to $1.5 million.
Please keep in mind that this is only a "ball park" estimate. A detailed study and analysis would have to be prepared in order to better define the costs of a public sewer system for the Hamlet. There are many variables involved and different technological methods that would have to be explored prior to making a final design selection.
If you have any questions or if we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Robert C. Burgher & Assoc.
LAND USE PLANNING • SUBDIVISIONS • TOPOGRAPHIC SURVEYS • PERCOLATION TESTS • SEPTIC DESIGN • ETC.