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Blooming Grove Plows Through A Packed Workshop Agenda

Updated: Jan 12, 2023


The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz - partners with New York Redistricting and Census Institute.



This Month's Workshop Board Meeting, tackled 3 items of importance, with their characteristic pace and zeal for detail:

1- Preliminary analysis of when and how borders of the 2018 Ward District line assessments need to be reviewed and considered for change.

2 - Annual use and cost of operating Mays and Lasser fields, and consideration of licensing agreements, having some of the space available for other uses when not being used by current athletic teams.

3 - A preliminary proposal for a Business Park within properties of vacant land behind the intersection of Route 94 and Oxford Road


Wards

A Ward system of voting and board representation was voted on in Blooming Grove and established in 2018, with the purpose of giving different areas withiin the town better representation of their unique issues. The law requires that each ward be chosen with a nearly equal number of voters, and that it should be reviewed and have its borders changed from time to time if its number of residents change significantly relative to an adjacent ward. After comments from a resident suggested that it might be time to do that, or at least consider whether a change is called for, Supervisor Rob Jeroloman had the numbers looked at and called the experts who had helped establish the wards. He found that New York's top expert, Dr. Benjamin, is currently in Florida, but they were able to have preliminary discussions. Several issues about determining an accurate population count became obvious, Borders of wards do not have to be changed unless there is at least a 10% change, which none of Blooming Grove's wards have experienced, so the issue of population counts for the Town, its 2 villages, and each Ward district is not urgent. But since it is complex the board wants to address it sooner rather than later. As to an accurate count, the Census of 2020 was likely extremely unreliable. Due to the COVID outbreak there was a shortage of census interviewers, and many households would not agree to be interviewed. And while a Census result may be the most reliable measure, ward reviews are not usually done within 2 years of their creation. But the main criteria indicating that a review is not yet indicated is that the current census results for Blooming Grove do not show any increase beyond 4.6%, nowhere near the required 10% for review. Still, Jeroloman said that Dr. Benjamin has offered to meet and discuss it further when he returns to New York, the remaining issue being ways to measure ward district population changes with the best reliability factors.

The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz partners with the NY Census & Redistricting Institute to expand its expertise with legal, process, and strategic advice. Institute personnel have decades of experience working on redistricting and ward creation for New York, and have also provided advice to many other localities in New York and elsewhere.


Mays Field in Washingtonville




One of the Football Fields at Lasser Park


Expanding Use of Mays Field and Lasser Park

Next, the workshop addressed use of the town's athletic fields starting with review of the costs associated with use and maintenance. Deputy Supervisor, Cathy Aceveto, pointed out that there are significant spans of time when they are not currently in use, and that the board could develop criteria to offer them to other teams and alternative uses to help pay for maintenance and significant improvements. Councilman Steven Amante pointed out that the fields are in excellent condition and are maintained immaculately. Supervisor Jeroloman said that there is currently a group. seeking an agreement for use of Mays Field. A licensing agreement would help cover its cost of use, but would have to be low since the town operates it as a non-profit entity. Amante pointed out some issues that have occurred in previous lease agreements. Rules to prevent recurrence of similar problems, including compliance with strict Department of Health regulations, will be included in the licensing agreement worked out with the Town Attorney in the coming weeks...They will then find ways to spread the word that both Lasser and May's Field have times that they are available and will detail the conditions of use.


Proposed Business Park

A business group from New Jersey is seeking to purchase several parcels of land in the areas behind the intersection of Route 94 and Oxford Road. The purpose would be to build a business park for low impact uses. Details were sparse during this initial workshop presentation, and many more meetings will happen before the owner proceeds to request a Special Use Permit which will require more reviews, both at the town board and planning board level. The Courier Journal will keep a close eye on progress of this project proposal and update the public regularly




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