The former Econo-Quik Gas & Car Wash site on Richards Avenue in Warrensburg has been off the tax rolls for at least 20 years due to underground pollution, which has now been remediated, freeing up the land for resale, according to a final engineering report issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. All that remains for the property to be unencumbered is a final certification from the state, a document which is pending.
A plot of prime downtown property — a vacant “brownfield” cordoned off for 12 years or so — will soon be available for commercial use, Warrensburg supervisor Kevin Geraghty told his town board this week.
After years of delay, a final engineering report was issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which concludes that the site, once the Econo-Quik Car Wash & Gas Station, is now free of pollution exceeding state standards.
In 2001, the DEC mandated a cleanup of the site due to underground fuel contamination from fuel tanks on the site. In the intervening years, the agency oversaw cleanup of the site.
DEC’s final approval, freeing up the property for resale, is pending. Once the agency issues this certification, the town will be seeking to take ownership and sell the property to get it back on the tax rolls.
New dog Warden as Hall retires
Also, Geraghty announced that Brenda Barrett is to become the town Dog Warden as of Dec. 21, replacing Dave Hall who is retiring. Geraghty praised Hall’s performance, noting he has served in the position since 1981.
“Dave’s done an admirable job,” Geraghty said. “I’m sure we’ll miss him, but Brenda is willing and ready to do the job.”
Geraghty joked that in six months, she might change her mind.
“Welcome, Brenda — and farewell to Dave,” he said, noting that residents are now to call 538-3648 with their canine concerns.
Town Board actions:
In other business, the town board:
• Passed a resolution formally making all town owned recreational properties tobacco-free. Signs to declare the status are to be provided at no charge by the regional Tobacco-Free Coalition. Although the measure was initially drafted to cover all town properties, the board decided that it should apply to just the recreational facilities.
• Voted to purchase a one-year music performance license from the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) so musicians at the town bandstand concerts could perform music protected by the union.
• Approved payment of $608 to the Warrensburgh Historical Society, drawn from Occupancy Tax Funds, for a newspaper advertisement.
• Agreed to pay $2,727 to Warrensburgh Beautification for advertising and spring flowering bulbs.
• Authorized paying $2,000 for a town ski program at Gore Mountain.
• Announced that the new town website is up and running, and that local businesses can obtain a link on the site to promote their respective businesses.
• Heard that on May 19, a bicycle rally based in Chestertown, with 100 bike riders, has Warrensburg as one of its primary stops. The event is to feature a theme of fighting the global war on terrorism.
• Heard that a contest was launched to develop a new town logo designed. Entries are now now being accepted at the town hall, or through the town website. The artist of the chosen entry is to win goods and services donated by local businesses.
• Learned from from local history museum director Steve Parisi that the museum is developing an audio tour for exhibits, to be playable through visitors’ cell phones. He also said that the Warrensburgh Historical Society was seeking to obtain one of the turbines used in the 1800s to harness water power for a local riverside mill.
• Were informed that most residents taking trash to the landfill are now segregating plastic materials for recycling. The first load of recyclable plastic transported recently for recycling earned the town $128 – plus the avoided cost of disposal, town board member Linda Baker Marcella said.
“In the long run, this will benefit everybody,” said Marcella, who has spearheaded expansion of recycling in town. Sandi Parisi asked if such conservation efforts could be expanded to include composting leaves and lawn clippings. Supervisor Geraghty said the idea would be explored.
Citizens are slashing water use
Also, the town board was informed that the recent conversion to water meters has enabled the town to shut down one of the three wells that it normally runs in winter, saving electricity and water purification costs. Town water superintendent Tom Belden said the town is now pumping 250,000 gallons per day instead of the average of $300,000 gallons per day. Town board member John Alexander noted that this cutback by local water customers would save the water district many thousands of dollars per year, which would be reflected in the savings passed on eventually to district residents. The reduction in water use also means that the water district – recently producing at capacity — can now accommodate new customers, including commercial clients, without expenses of developing new wells and storage capacity.
“Thanks to all those in the water district for hanging in there,” Alexander said, referring to the process of converting to water meters.