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Saugerties supervisor hopes to establish solar energy array this year

January 5, 2017

SAUGERTIES, N.Y. >> Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel says establishing a solar energy array to serve the town’s power needs will be a priority for 2017 after it struggled over the past 12 months to find a location for one and reach an agreement to build the installation.



Helsmoortel said in a phone interview this week that the effort to establish an solar electric generating facility on Kings Highway has been shifted to the former town landfill site on state Route 212.



“The project on Kings Highway, we just could not work out the logistics with Central Hudson,” he said, referring to the Mid-Hudson region’s primary power company.



Helsmoortel hopes to have a plan for construction and the power purchase agreement ready by the summer.

He said the town still is trying to determine a “pricing structure that is available for the company to give us a guaranteed rate that we’ll be comfortable with.”



Town officials also be working in 2017 to make Bristol Beach, an undeveloped park along the Hudson River, more accessible for recreation.



“It won’t be a big project because we’re going to move slowly with grant money,” Helsmoortel said. “That will be a big project someday. It will be a big asset to the town.”



Helsmoortel said the town also is monitoring efforts to sell the Winston Farm, site of the massive Woodstock ’94 concert. He said the size of the 850-acre property is an impediment to finding a buyer, as is the fact that “water and sewer [service] is not there right now.”



“There’s a list of manufacturing that we’d accept that we’d be comfortable with in the environment,” the supervisor said. “There’s ... tech business, chip business, computer business — any high-tech, high-end, most of them would be allowed. There’s a few exceptions, but ... it’s quite open.”



On another matter, Helsmoortel said an agreement with the state Thruway Authority for water service at the Malden service area will help bring down rates for district property owners.



“It definitely will help [district residents] with their expense,” he said. “The Thruway is paying completely for the installation of the lines.”

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