Watershed Corp. to fund Route 28 corridor project

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By Jay Braman Jr
Members of the Central Catskills Collaborative (CCC) got some good news last Thursday from Alan Rosa, the executive director of the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

The Collaborative, made up of representatives from towns from Olive in Ulster County all the way up Route 28 to the Town of Andes in Delaware County, held its monthly meeting at Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) headquarters in Margaretville. Just before the session was called to order Rosa took the floor.

“The CWC wants to fund the Corridor project,” he said, referring to the collaborative’s effort to obtain a scenic byway nomination for Route 28.

The CCC is a group of designated representatives from seven municipalities along over 50 miles of the Route 28 Corridor: The towns of Andes, Hurley, Middletown, Olive, and Shandaken, and the villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville. These communities are working together to protect and promote the resources along the Route 28 Corridor. The communities are in unique partnership involving the landscape architecture program of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the regional non-profit, The Catskill Center for Conservation and Devel-opment, Inc.

Together they will conduct community visioning exercises and produce both corridor-wide and site-specific designs for communities along the Esopus Creek and the East Branch of the Delaware River.

Peter Manning, the regional planner for The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, said Friday that CWC’s offering is not yet official, but that the intention is to award the Collaborative with a $50,000 grant from CWC’s Local Technical Assistance Program. Manning, who is the mediator for all the communities in the Collaboration, said the CWC funds would be used to prepare a corridor management plan.

The plan, a requirement for Scenic Byway nomination, will be the Collaborative’s vision of the roadway, offering ideas as to how best to show the connections that all the communities have with one another. “Route 28 has a story to tell,” he said.

Margaret Bryant, assistant professor of Landscape Architecture at SUNY ESF, was at the meeting to announce that students in the college’s design studio are putting the finishing touches on some design ideas expected to be included in the corridor management plan. She expects to unveil them Wednesday.

Bryant said the design team, which has visited the region to collect data, has focused on three categories: tourism, recreation and access to water.

“The strength of this project is that it is an idea generator,” said Bryant.
The work of Bryant’s team will be considered by the Collaborative in March.