Bob Dylan Supported the Highway Garage
Would it Then Be Built?
Edges toward a NIMBY-free Highway Department Solution
Wherever the much-needed Highway maintenance garage
and salt barn wind up being located, the Town Board
fairly soon will have to focus on building up support
among voters in order for a bonding referendum to pass.
In a rather ludicrous form of small town/gentrification
class warfare, NIMBY-gasm after NIMBY-gasm has driven
contemplation of a highway garage/salt barn site here,
then there, then here, at different locations in Woodstock.
Hopefully those who were so smug and shrill in driving
it from this location or that location will not just
head back to their lives of quiet exasperation, but
will help in the solution to this important local problem.
Maybe now that they've driven it away from the location
by the sewage treatment plant, the NIMB's will no longer
call the Highway Department facility an "ogre," especially
since it will be at a proper distance from their spiffy
homes. I think that the same people who want their snow
removed within 15 minutes of the ceasing of snowfall
curl their lips at the thought of actual snow-workers
mixing sand too near their Yup-NIMB domiciles. And oh
those unsightly salt spreaders, that Bauhaus-esque salt
barn! those squat and ugly trucks! Police cars filling
their gas tanks! Is that an engine they dare to pull
from a truck? My Lord, is that a culvert pipe? Is there
no decency? Can't they just put them in someone else's
Some, or even hundreds, might not like the solution
being stitched together which seems to be gathering
steam, but if it is carried out with the plan the Journal
has learned about, it will provide an okay, but probably
still controversial location. If another NIMBY-gasm
occurs, and if then the highway facility is not allowed
at the NEXT proposed location, then I think the Town
should purchase a property on Easton Lane, tear down
a house if necessary, and build it there.
Meanwhile, I took a drive the other day to visit some
local town highway garages and salt barns. I went first
to the Town of Ulster, then to Saugerties, and finally
to the Town of Hurley.
At the rather old-fashioned Town of Ulster salt shed
(at least it's covered, unlike Woodstock's ghastly open-air
salt pile next to its drinking water stream) I ran into
a Town Board member who said that the DEC was frequently
on the Town of Ulster's case over leaks from the salt
shed, threatening hefty fines. He wondered why Woodstock
were not also getting threats of DEC financial punishment.
I had no answer.
Maybe if Woodstock were faced with a $1,000 a day fine
from the State, it would get beyond class-based NIMBY-growling.
The Saugerties highway department, located on Churchland
Road, is a combination of recent buildings and a groovy
red brick structure from 1943. It covers a lot of land,
and its salt barn, while fairly large, appears to spill
stuff to its exterior. Clearly not a model for Woodstock.
Next, I drove to the Town of Hurley site on Dug Hill
Road, in a remote part of the Town. This shoots down
the assertion that a highway maintenance facility has
to be located near a downtown location, because the
site high on Dug Hill is far removed from the town offices
in Old Hurley and the residential complexes of West
Hurley, of course, maintains an excellent recycling
center which is part of its highway department site.
As I stood there taking pictures I spotted up the hill
a sign above a bin, "polystyrene peanuts." No such place
to place one's peanuts in Woodstock.
The salt barn in Hurley is new. It has a kind of elegance
to it. It reminds me of certain Les Walker designs.
I could picture it on Easton Lane, at the Rock City
Road site where they were going to build the Post Office,
and at a few other spots around town.
Finally, I stopped in to see Highway Superintendent
Bill Harder, who loaned me the photo we used on the
cover is this issue of the Journal. Bill has
an underlying tone of enthusiasm to his personality,
and he never gives up. And he's 100% behind his workers.
I like that about him.
He likes the new tall green Hurley salt barn, but he
also likes, perhaps even more, a barn with a high-arch
gambrel design, along whose side run storage units for
sand spreaders with an overhanging roof. He showed me
a magazine with just such a gambrel-roofed barn. It
would be in keeping, he pointed out, with the traditional
designs of agricultural barns in the area.
As for the bonding referendum, the one passed years
ago to fund a site at the old landfill was $1.345 million.
He criticized those who were predicting a $3-4 million
price tag for the highway department buildings now.
He thinks it will come in around $2 million. "We were
hoping for one-half masonry, one-half steel," he told
me. "Maybe now we'll have to go to all steel."
I think the same town whose Town Hall has those groovy
columns and the semicircular window above them should
look to make a visually pleasing set of highway buildings.
Again, there should be no distinctions between different
types of Woodstock employees. They all can appreciate
clean working conditions, conditions that won't lead
to cancer, clean water, and visually interesting places
to provide their services.
Only 45% of Eligible Voters Voted
in the Recent Woodstock Election
County Election Commissioner Harry Castiglione had a
disturbed tone to his voice when he told me, "In Woodstock
only 45% bothered to vote. Not only in Woodstock," he
continued, "but also all over."
Last year's presidential election in Woodstock saw 3,337
votes cast. (2074 for Gore, 728 for Bush, and 485 for
In this year's election for Town Board, if you add up
the votes for Democrat Liz Simonson, Republican Kim
Keefe, and Green Peter Koch (1022, 705 and 178) the
total is: 1905, which gives an approximation of how
many showed up in Woodstock's 9 election districts.
I had been interested in seeing how Green David Menzies
did, for Supervisor, against the cross-endorsed Jeremy
Wilber, especially after the well-done last-minute Green
newsletter Menzies prepared and spread around town.
Wilber picked up 1544 votes, with Menzies at 271. That's
15% for Menzies, (who conducted a mellow and low key
campaign) a result which is in the ballpark for Greens
in other countries, so far.
The candidate that was done a true injustice was Woodstock's
3-term County Legislator, Sam Magarelli who had a landslide
victory in Woodstock, but lost in the new illegal and
gerrymandered "Superdistrict." (See
What's the answer to lamo non-voters? Don't say it's
better candidates. Say it's to become better citizens.
Articles by Edward Sanders