Town Ready to Establish Shelter Program at Rec Center

Roger Chirico, middle, supervises generator delivery as John Van Tassel, right, looks on.

Delivery of giant generator enables emergency planning to go forward

By Kevin E. Foley

The four-year effort to establish a Philipstown-based shelter for residents in need during a storm or other emergency took a big step forward Thursday (Jan. 26) when an industrial-size electrical generator, weighing more than three tons, was delivered to the town recreational center. The generator, which will also benefit the center’s regular operations, allows the town to go forward with plans to have the Red Cross and the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services establish a shelter program at the center, located on Glenclyffe Drive off Route 9D in Garrison.

“We began in 2008 with a grant proposal for Homeland Security funds to pay for the generator, which was eventually approved,” said Amber Stickle, director of Philipstown recreation and parks, who worked on the grant proposal. She also credited Adam Stibling, deputy commissioner at BES, with helping write and shepherd the proposal through the bureaucracy. The county already has a shelter facility, but it is in Carmel, over 25 miles from Philipstown, and therefore not convenient, particularly in an emergency situation.

According to Stickle, a meeting is planned for next week with Red Cross and BES officials to work on details of the shelter program, such as whether cots and other supplies will be stored on-site or delivered as needed.  The shelter plan will not affect the regular recreation center programs.  Stickle said another month will needed for wiring and testing before the generator is online.

In the aftermath of storms in recent years town officials have underscored the need for an established facility to provide individuals and families a place to sleep, shower and eat.  Councilors John Van Tassel and Nancy Montgomery have spearheaded efforts to bolster the town’s capacity for emergency response.  Stickle said she believed the town would still need the four volunteer fire companies to assist and temporarily house stranded residents and visitors but that the new shelter would now be the key element of the town’s shelter response.

Stickle pointed out that Van Tassel, a construction contractor, put in numerous volunteer hours digging the trench necessary for the new generator’s electrical lines as well as preparing the concrete base underneath the device.  She also said that Valenti Concrete donated the necessary concrete for the generator foundation and Pidala Electric was handling the installation and connections on a discounted basis.

Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico and crew were on hand to take delivery of the generator and move it to its permanent location at the rear of the recreation center.

Photo by K.E.Foley

Did you find this article useful or informative? Please consider a donation to support our work. Even $5 a month would be terrific. We are able to provide this website and our weekly print paper free to the community because of readers like you.

3 Responses to "Town Ready to Establish Shelter Program at Rec Center"

  1. Lynn Miller   January 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Terrific news! Great work and thank you to everyone who contributed to this project.

  2. FJ Spinelli   January 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Nice article. Interesting that we celebrate the installation at a rec department and the Garrison Fire Department gets attacked for trying to do the same thing. Too bad no one has further considered the difference between the two buildings as they discuss shelters. From a life safety standpoint the FD building is far safer, affords easy access in and out of the property, has two potable water sources, and is built of steel and concrete. What ever happened with the structural issues involving the roof and the wall cracks at the rec center? Last I remember there were measuring devices on the walls in the hallway.

  3. Joe Regele   January 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Balderdash!

    The Garrison Volunteer Fire Department was not “attacked” for “trying to do the same thing as the Rec. Department”.

    Several years ago Amber Stickle made a presentation to the Rec.Commission and to the Town Board, which outlined obtaining State and Federal money to upgrade the Rec. Center. This was so the Rec. could qualify as an emergency shelter.

    This was a win win as the Town would get outside funding which not only provided the generator for the emergency shelter, but also provided other funding opportunities to improve the Rec. Center’s physical plant. Both the Town Board and the Rec. Commission supported this application.

    At that time I brought it to the attentiom of the Town Board that the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department had designs on finishing out the 2nd floor of their firehouse as an emergency shelter. I pointed out that the GVFC improvements would be funded ONLY by Garrison taxpayers and that it was silly to have (as only Philipstown can) redundant facilities.

    The Town Board agreed, and told the GVFC not to spend any of our tax dollars on the proposed bathrooms needed for “their” shelter. The GVFC IGNORED the Town Board and moved forward with the work.

    So, the GVFC was not trying to do the “same thing” as the Rec Department.

    The Rec Department worked with the Town and the State on an improvment that will benefit all of us in the most efficient manner possible. The GVFC unilaterlaly decided to spend our tax dollars while overriding the Town Board in the process.

    Hardly the ‘same thing”.