CHEERS: To the Town of New Windsor for creating a playground where all children are welcome. The new all-inclusive playground at Kristi Babcock Memorial Park was designed to make the grounds accessible for children of all ages with or without mental and physical disabilities. Multi-colored padded tiles were put down so that anyone with walkers, strollers, wheelchairs or other mobility gear could easily navigate. The different colors can be used as a guide through the playground for autistic children. The project was funded through park land fees paid to the Recreation Department by developers. The town will soon add eight more handicapped parking spots to the nearby parking lot and install six additional park benches inside the grounds.
CHEERS: To the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor for continuing to honor those who provide support and inspiration. The second annual Genesis Legacy Medal Dinner Nov. 8 at Anthony’s Pier 9 will honor Tom Urtz, a community leader and ShopRite Supermarkets executive whose leadership has helped with numerous fundraisers. Even better known is the other recipient. U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran, a double amputee, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This spring she made a different kind of history, becoming the first sitting U.S. senator to have a baby while in office.
CHEERS: To SunCommon, a Vermont-based installer of residential solar power systems, and the Orange County Citizens Foundation for starting construction on a small-scale solar array in Sugar Loaf that can power more than 60 area homes and businesses. Homeowners and businesses will be able to buy panels to serve their buildings remotely. There is no upfront cost to buy the panels and potential users can avoid issues that have stymied many people interested in using solar power.
CHEERS: To a group of West Point graduates hoping to build a $39 million, 122-room luxury hotel to replace the former Pointer’s Echo Motel in Highland Falls by 2020. The five partners include four West Point graduates from the classes of ’81 and ’86. Plans call for a five-story, 100,000-square-foot structure on 5.4 acres, built into a hillside with sweeping views of the Hudson River and Highland Falls. Amenities would include a 1,942-square-foot restaurant serving 137 patrons; two large banquet rooms; meeting rooms; a 1,276-square-foot rooftop lounge or solarium for 76 users; and a 3,648-square-foot outdoor event deck.
CHEERS: To the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for looking to expand one of the region’s prime attractions. It is seeking state grants so it can acquire $1 million of property to add camping to expand its capacity and encourage multi-day festivals and events. Should they get the funds, they “would be used to expand our infrastructure and future use of the property. This multi-phased initiative would enhance our track record of increasing visitation and fueling regional economic development through tourism,” said Darlene Fedun, chief executive officer.