TOWN OF WALLKILL — Some Town of Wallkill residents are calling the City of Middletown’s proposed reservoir trail plans “a nightmare.”
“Concerned Neighbors of Restorative Estates” wrote a sternly worded letter to city officials citing a possible increase in traffic and crime in their neighborhood as reasons why they thought it was a bad idea for the city to open trails around the municipality’s three main reservoirs — Highland, Monhagen and Shawangunk.
“We see the potential for a decrease in our property values and almost certainly our quality of country life,” stated the letter that was handed to city officials Monday.
Sixteen neighbors from Restorative Lane, Casa Davi Court and Mapes Road signed the letter, stating they were worried an entrance to the Middletown Reservoir Trails at the Highland Lake Reservoir, where a proposed visitor center may go in the coming years, would change their otherwise secluded neighborhood bordering the Town of Mount Hope.
Middletown Mayor Joe DeStefano said in June the city plans to open the trails by the end of the summer.
“I think it's a really bad idea, honestly,” said James Lindsay, a resident whose property abuts the reservoir and is right next to the proposed Highland Lake trail entrance. “I just don't know what good can come of it.”
Trails at the reservoir on Highland Lake Road were open to the public until the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which triggered safety concerns because the reservoirs serve as a source of water for residents in the city, causing the municipality to close off the land to the public, DeStefano said.
DeStefano said he had a meeting with some of the upset homeowners, who complained the city didn’t do enough to make others aware of the trails being reopened. He said the lack-of-transparency accusations were “nonsense.”
“I think the people who hike the (trails) are residents of this county, residents of this city,” DeStefano said. “They have every right to enjoy public lands, as people in their neighborhood have a right to enjoy public lands in other communities.”
Homes in the neighborhood were built over the last decade. Multiple neighbors have said they are looking into selling their properties as a result of the proposed reservoir plans.