New Windsor Takes Its Pulse On Mining, Town Issues

Survey Shows Respondents Are Divided On Quarry, Historic Register And Police

November 10, 1991|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

NEW WINDSOR — Town residents are divided on mining issues, joining the National Register of Historic Places and reinstating the Police Department, a survey conducted by the Pipe Creek Jaycees shows.

Neal C. Roop, state director for the service organization and a former councilman here,delivered the 16-question surveys to 339 of the town's 842 residents. He received responses from 124, or 37 percent, of those polled.

Residents were divided -- 59 for, 54 against -- in their opinionson Lehigh Portland Cement Co. plans to quarry 700 company-owned acres near town.

Respondents split, 58-58, over whether the company should mine within a half-mile of town.

That may be a moot point, said Mayor James C. Carlisle at Wednesday's council session, when the survey results were reported. The county's Mineral Advisory Committee has recommended 1,000 feet. Carlisle said he has written the county commissioners of his opposition to that proposal.

Seventy-two respondents, or nearly 60 percent, said town officials are doing enough toprotect New Windsor in regard to the proposed mining. Thirty-seven disagreed, and 15 didn't answer.

"People took the survey seriously," said Roop, who owns the town grocery store. "It gave them a chance to get involved in town government, and it made them think about things that affect us."

Opinion was divided on joining the National Register of Historic Places, with 48 votes for the proposal, 46 againstand 30 undecided.

Chris Catalfu, a Church Street resident, said the town Heritage Society has been trying to show residents the advantages of joining the register. The survey shows the group still has work to do, she said.

"Somehow the two issues, mining and the register, have gotten mixed together," she said. "Joining the register willnot impede mining progress. It will encourage vacationers to stop here."

While 54 residents said the resident trooper shared with Union Bridge provided "adequate" police protection, 61 said it was not, and several recommended foot patrols. By a margin of 65-46, residents said the town should have its own police department.

Ninety-seven residents said town officials govern with the citizens' best interestin mind, and 107 like the town newsletter.

Nearly 44 percent of the respondents said the town is not doing enough to ensure that a school remains here. The school board plans to build a new middle schoolhere, possibly by 1993.

The idea for the survey evolved at a Julycouncil session in which nearly 60 residents reached an impasse withthe council on proposed mining and on joining the register. The council accepted Roop's offer to poll all residents.

When Roop delivered the surveys, he asked residents to return them, unsigned, to his store, where he tallied the results.

"The survey does not claim to be fool-proof or scientific," he said.

The survey legitimately reflected residents' concerns, but more people would have responded if they had been guaranteed anonymity, Catalfu said.

"It was not appropriate that the surveys had to go back to the source (Roop)," she said.

Council members said they had heard that criticism from severalresidents.

"People just didn't want to return them in person to Roop's store," said Richard M. Warehime, town clerk. "They said they would have filled them out otherwise."

Carlisle suggested using theTown Hall as a drop-off for future questionnaires.

New Windsor might have more surveys in its future. Ninety-two respondents said theyshould be a yearly project.

"If the survey points out problems, we will try to correct them," said the mayor. "We need to know residents' concerns."

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