To the Valley News:
I was pleased to read in the Valley News of the granting of an Adirondack Park Excellence in Design Competition Award to the Town of Essex wastewater facilities. This award should not be considered for buildings alone. Any article or acknowledgement would be most incomplete and tardy without the recognition of the Town wide spirit of cooperation which made the completion possible.
The recent reiteration of the Essex Wastewater System is only a small part of a water, waste and sewage system begun in 1955 when the first nucleus of such a system was initiated by a group of volunteers under the leadership of Supervisor Elvin Cross who began to hand dig trenches and lay in the necessary piping for a Hamlet water system
A fine example of the long time Essex spirit of cooperation was shown when Town Board members Supervisor Ron Jackson, l members Suzanne Perley, Steve Sayward, Mark Wrisley, and myself initiated the sewer system planning even though none of them lived in the Essex Hamlet (Clair LaPine joined us two years later) where the waste water system was needed and to be located,
While the lack of funds prohibited immediate implementation, it was the initial farsighted preliminary funding for research by the AES engineering firm to prepare engineering specifications which enabled Essex to be positioned to complete the extensive project application. No small measure of thanks are due to former Supervisor Ron Jackson for his perseverance in seeking funding and his subsequent round the clock work in preparing the final project funding in 2007.
Accordingly when funding for “shovel ready” projects became available, the board had the requisite initial documentation to allow it be considered at the top of the funding list and requested to submit an actual request. Working almost round the clock to completed the project it was Ron Jackson’s engineering acumen and Steve Sayward’s review which enabled completing the funding request.
But, this effort was not a one or two person show. Citizen cooperation began when Essex won the right to submit a waste water system proposal. Citizens such as Charley Goff, Jim Morgan, Jim Morris made valuable input; property owners Tilly Close and Susan Mallet, old time Essex descendents of the Ross family, generously donated the use of their privately owned land for location of the plant and reed beds; Steve Cunnion moved over- night to provide access to his land, fortuitously removing a last minute stumbling block. The initially submitted building design was changed from an utilitarian structure to the present design after input from Essex residents.It was the rapid response of citizens who would reside in the proposed Sewage District which also enabled meeting funding deadlines. Clearly it was a Town wide effort that enabled institution of the eventual funding.
To demonstrate that the waste water project was the work of many rather than a few I only wish a strong effort would have been made to notify concerned citizens of the award presentation so many of us could have shared in the initial award ceremony when Present Supervisor Boisen accepted the award.
James LaForest, Whallonsburg