2012-08-29 / Civics and Politics

Putnam Valley Building Work Underway

By Annie Chesnut

Putnam Valley Town Supervisor Robert “Bob” Tendy has had a comparatively quiet summer.

The scenic community that spans the length of Peekskill Hollow, between the Westchester border and the Town of Kent, has long been a summer retreat, offering lakes, hills, hiking trails, and green serenity. At Lake Peekskill, Lake Oscawana, and Roaring Brook Lake, residents and “summer people” have been enjoying themselves despite the hot and stormy weather.

Putnam Valley has had its share of controversy over the years, including the community debate over dismantling the local police department, a startandstop campaign to build a local high school, opposition to proposed improvements to Peekskill Hollow Road, and an active anti-tax contingent that rears its head periodically over budget issues, both Town- and school-related. Most recently the Highway Superintendent race got a bit ugly, but things in the Valley seem mostly calm lately, unless you ask Patty Villanova.

Villanova, an articulate, tenacious, and often outspoken resident and businesswoman, currently operating a small store on Main Street in Cold Spring, has made it her mission to hold Tendy’s feet to the fire. Villanova uses all of the media at her disposal—blog posts referring to the Supervisor as “Little Caesar,” letters to the editor, or in-person attendance at Town meetings. Like Tendy, she is a Republican, and has run for Town Board on that ticket, but she has made it her business to challenge what she views as irresponsible government, no matter who the players are.

Villanova recently sent the PCN&R a statement accusing Tendy of waging a “fatwah” against her in an ongoing conflict over what Tendy said “could be viewed as harassment” by Villanova in her email dealings with Building Inspector John Landi.

Villanova has been critical of Landi over several issues, including his alleged slowness in dealing with an unregistered vehicle on the property of one of her neighbors, and his actions regarding the embattled, one-of-a-kind concrete Cornu home on Oscawana Lake Road, which the Town has long sought to condemn as being unsafe.

Town Hall Addition

However, the most serious of Villanova’s recent written allegations against Tendy was, “Town Hall is being enlarged courtesy of former Sen. [Vinnie] Leibell [currently serving prison time for corruption] who gave money from the Dormitory slush fund to his loyal supporters.”

We asked Tendy about her claim: “Five or six years ago I sent a letter to Senator Leibell’s office and other representatives, listing five or six things we hoped to accomplish with the Town.” Among these was the enlargement of the current Town Hall. Eventually the NY State Dormitory Authority, which is the source of much of this type of funding, gave the Town a grant of $250,000 to accomplish the improvements to the space-challenged facility. The contract from the state has been signed, and the new annex is being designed, Tendy said, with the bid for constructing the building going out soon. It will be attached via a breezeway to the rear of the Town Hall, and will hold the Building, Planning, and Assessor’s departments, “all in one central building,” including a place for people with specific planning-related issues to have a private conversation with the Town—something that’s currently not possible. “It will benefit the public tremendously,” Tendy added.

Other Developments

Tendy also reported that a replacement building for the “pole barn” at Leonard Wagner Town Park that burned down in March is all bid and contracted out, and being worked on now. It should be up by the end of the fall, although not in time for Putnam Valley Town Day on September 22—which features fun, food, games, vendors, exhibits, music, and fireworks sponsored by Entergy.

Tendy, himself a musician, is especially proud of the music being presented in Putnam Valley. On Thursday, August 30th, Alicia Svigals and the Klezmer Fiddle Express will be playing at the Putnam Valley Firehouse at 7 p.m. And Tendy is working with The Folkadelics—an up-and-coming band with strong local roots—on a concert sometime later this fall.

But like everywhere else these days, what Putnam Valley mostly needs is more business. County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Putnam Tourism Director Libby Pataki were recently “downtown” with Tendy to unveil a new sign for the Oregon Corners Business District, bordered on one corner by the now-County-owned George’s Super Service, which is currently vacant. One of the other four corners there is also vacant, as is a freestanding store up the road and just beyond it, the former home of Oregon Hardware—now hosting a weekend “indoor flea market.” It remains to be seen what else the Town and the county can do to help revitalize the area.

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