New Scotland looks to bring Wi-Fi to parks for real-time look-ins on town-owned cameras 

Swift Road and Feura Bush parks

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

New Scotland has cameras in its Swift Road and Feura Bush parks, but the issue recently has been that it hasn’t been able to catch people in real-time doing things they shouldn’t be doing. 

NEW SCOTLAND — “Damage-wise, it’s been minimal,” Supervisor Douglas LaGrange said of recent incidents at New Scotland’s Swift Road and Feura Bush parks. 

LaGrange told The Enterprise this week he’s just looking for “a little respect for the taxpayers’ property”; the parks are there for everyone’s enjoyment — use them for their intended purpose. 

“And if there’s a lack of respect, then we need to address it,” he said. 

During the Aug. 12 town board meeting, LaGrange said there had been,“for lack of a better term,” five recent “vandalism” incidents, that have resulted in five outstanding cases with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. 

The town is already using motion-detector cameras at both parks.

“But it’s tough,” Ken Guyer, the town’s highway superintendent, said during the Aug. 12 meeting, “even with the good footage, we’re struggling with catching any of these mischievous kids.” Nothing has come from the town handing over footage to the sheriff’s office.

There is no way to check the cameras in real-time to catch someone in the act. 

And so, what was proposed on Aug. 12 was that the town install Wi-Fi at the parks so that LaGrange or Guyer, or another town employee can check the cameras in real-time. 

Which is a lot easier than trying “to backtrack and find whoever, whatever, and whenever,” LaGrange said, and at the same time, it will be nice for residents who use the parks because they will have access to the Wi-Fi.

It would cost approximately $3,000 to get the Wi-Fi up and running in the parks through Spectrum, LaGrange said; then there would be a monthly fee. 

But he said that Councilman Adam Greenberg reminded him during the Aug. 12 meeting that Hudson Valley Wireless may also be able to provide Wi-Fi service to the town. 

And LaGrange said the study the company did shows the parks are well within its coverage area, so it wouldn’t cost the town anything other than “a modest equipment hook-up fee.” Additionally, he said that the company is talking about giving the town a good deal on the monthly cost.

And the money would appear to be well-spent because criminal masterminds these are not.

For example, “a couple of young gentlemen” with a motorcycle were doing burnouts on the new concrete floor of the pavilion at Charley Houghtaling Park in Feura Bush, LaGrange said, and they left the bike at the pavilion for about an hour and walked up the street — the whole incident probably lasted three to four hours. 

In another incident, “a couple of young ladies” were trying to hit something in the pavilion — LaGrange guessed a birds’ nest — and dinged up the new pavilion’s timbers. The “young ladies” were there at the park for at least three hours, he said; at one point, friends stopped by. 

“Those were perfect opportunities to send someone down if we saw it remotely,” LaGrange said. 


Engineering approved for Clarksville sidewalks

During the Aug. 12 meeting, the town board approved $50,000 for engineering services for a potential sidewalk project in Clarksville.

The money is part of a $25o,000 grant received through Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy’s office: Along with the $50,000 for sidewalk engineering in Clarksville, the grant allocates $125,000 for a roof for the historic Hilton Barn, and $80,000 for the quiet zone — to reduce train whistles — in Voorheesville.

With the engineering in-hand, the hope is that the town will be able to go after funds should they become available for shovel-ready projects. 

LaGrange told The Enterprise the engineering work would be for a sidewalk project on Delaware Avenue, which runs right through the heart of the Clarksville hamlet. Currently, there’s really no way to walk safely along the side of the road, he said, although people continue to do so.

LaGrange said that a few years ago, Councilman William Hennessey and some others sought a grant for the sidewalks; however, the area’s median income wasn’t low enough. But there was also a note in the reply letter that said, had the town had its engineering already done, it would have had a better shot next time at getting a construction grant, LaGrange said. 

The proposal itself is for a single sidewalk on the southern side of Route 443 entering from Delmar to above Jake Moon’s restaurant, LaGrange said; although he didn’t have the exact figures at the time and was going off of recollection, he estimated it was about a mile of sidewalk.

Since 2005, when he started knocking on doors in his first run for town board, LaGrange said one thing he’s continued to hear over the years from Clarksville residents is that they wished there was a safer way to walk down Route 443.

So now, with the grant money from Fahy, he said, the town will have the engineering in-hand should federal money be made available, or Capital District Transportation Committee money freed up, or “whatever it might be.” 

LaGrange estimated the cost of the sidewalk project would be between $600,000 and $700,000. “So obviously, we have to do it with grant money,” he said.

He added that, at one time, Delaware Avenue was going to be the first of a three-phase sidewalk project.

The second phase was down Tarrytown Road and then up Slingerlands Avenue to connect to the Delaware Avenue sidewalk, approximately four-tenths of a mile, using the mapping tool from Albany County Interactive Mapping.

The third phase would have been up Grayceland Avenue and then back down Verda Avenue toward Route 443,  approximately three-tenths of a mile, according to Albany County Interactive Mapping.

That total project would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million, LaGrange said.   

The town wants to do something that will satisfy the needs and safety concerns of the hamlet, LaGrange said, and get the sidewalk on Delaware Avenue done as soon as possible, because there’s seemingly a more likely chance New Scotland will get a grant for $600,000 or $700,000 than it would for $1.5 million.

And he also points out that the town may have been able to get the project done sooner had the school still been there, because it would have been more of a priority for funding. The Bethlehem Central School District closed Clarksville Elementary and then sold the school to the county for use as the sheriff’s office.



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