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Amenia’s Projects 

An inteview with Victoria Perotti
by Antonia Shoumatoff
Wed Apr 6th, 2016

Silo Ridge, the closure of the Old Amenia Landfill, a new regional shelter and kitchen, the trail to the train, a solution to the ambulance problem are all weighty and expensive projects that have kept Victoria Perotti up at night and working beyond her normal office hours.

“The Town was sued with an Article 78 for signing off on the final Findings Statement for Silo Ridge.  We have answered the Article 78 and are waiting for a judgment.  I found the group of plaintiffs to be strange bedfellows: Oakley Thorne, Pastor Grand George of the Smithfield Presbyterian Church and Old Forge Farm in Wassaic on Old Rte. 22.”

Perotti said that she has hired an attorney with expertise in ambulance contracts to draw up a request for proposal (RFP) for a private municipal contract for ambulance service for the town.  The RFP will go out to ambulance companies this month.  The Supervisor has been having regular meetings with both fire companies (Amenia and Wassaic) and county officials Owen Wrafter and Dana Smith.  They will help coordinate a shared services application. 

“This is a highly regulated and complicated process.  I have hired one of the top experts in the field to tell us what we need to put in the contract.  We have a ball park figure we are looking at which will bring the price down for tax-payers since we will allow the ambulance company that is hired to bill customers through their insurance companies.”

The seemingly endless Trail to the Train project has been under way longer than it took to build the Brooklyn Bridge.   It has finally reached the design phase which is 60% complete.  

Supervisor Perotti said that there are still right of way issues. She hopes that after a conversation with Metronorth this week that the firm handling the design, WSP Sells, will be able to achieve 90% design progress by the end of the month.”

Perotti said she hopes the project will be able to go out to bid by the end of the year. She will speak to Mark Molinaro about having the county take over the maintenance of the trail, as they do for the rest of the rail trail.

We asked for comments from the local landscape architect, Mark K. Morrison, RLA FASLA, who also bid on the project and who has subsequently designed and built three more sections of the rail trail. Morrison was turned down by the town board, preferring the Sells firm from NYC. 

“We have designed and built Copake Falls to Orphan Farm. We have designed and are going out to bid with Black Grocery to Hillsdale. We have designed, completed contract documents and are awaiting phasing for The Taconic Pkwy to Chatham.

We are writing a grant proposal to make the Rte. 22 crossing and connection to Black Grocery.  All in less time than the Trail to the Train has taken to get to 60%.” 

By the time the trail is built it will have cost well over a million dollars, more than 80% of which has been covered by grants.

Another painfully long and expensive project is the remediation of the Old Amenia Landfill which has still not received final closure approvals from the NYS DEC.  The agency has supervised the remediation process, capping of the old landfill and the removal of the toxic heavy metals, including PCB’s.  The post-closure site management plan has been approved by the DEC.  Four companies have bid on the post-closure monitoring and landscaping.  

“After the DEC signs off on it, we will officially open it as a park this summer.  There is parking and a trail around the property with views of the pond and Silo Ridge.  It is really a lovely spot,” said Supervisor Perotti.

Yet another project in Amenia that needs more money is the kitchen and regional shelter.  The new kitchen will be off the former gymnasium room and will feature state-of-the-art facilities which will be able to provide food for people when the power goes out with a back up generator. The kitchen design was donated by Leo Blackman.  $15,000 has been donated, another $15,000 is in the town budget but the town needs to raise another $60,000 which the Lions Club and Silo Ridge have offered to help raise, according to Supervisor Perotti. 

We asked the supervisor about the Bulfalmante composting application.  She said, “We have not seen another application from Mr. Bulfalmante.  The people who lived next door did not want the noise and the odor.  This operation is not allowed in our zoning.  As far as I am concerned it is a closed door.  I was surprised the Councilman Delango continued to advocate for it after a majority of the town board voted against it.”