The Central Catskills Collaborative has settled on a name for a 45-mile stretch of state Route 28 that the group hopes will receive a scenic byway designation from New York state.
The collaborative, which serves as the scenic byway nomination committee, said it decided on “The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway” for the proposed Hurley-to-Andes route after a process of elimination.
“We’ve received a great many ideas for a name, with a couple being very popular,” said James Krueger, the collaborative’s chairman. “This is a real turning point in the project because the name will strengthen the corridor’s identity and improve the marketing of the region.”
The collaborative, made up of about a dozen representatives, joined with a handful of residents from the region Thursday night at the Olive Town Hall to make the decision. The group already had a list of possibilities for a name, but the meeting in Olive, according to Krueger, was held to finalize things.
“Tonight we have the fun task of choosing the name for this byway,” he said at the start of the meeting.
With that, a list of 16 names appeared on a screen. Among them: Heart of the Catskills Corridor, Catskill Park Scenic Byway, Ulster-Delaware Turnpike Scenic Byway, Route 28 Scenic Catskills Byway, Gateway to the Catskills and Catskill Scenic Historic Byway.
Collaborative members then took turns commenting.
Fleischmanns representative John Duda pushed hard for a name that included the phrase “Central Catskills” because he felt that already was a brand identity for the region.
The group methodically eliminated name after name from the running, getting the list of choices down to only four.
But then this brainstorming session yielded something different. It was noted that a name containing the term “Catskill Mountains” had never been in the running.
Quickly, the name “Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway” was offered, and after a quick vote, the proposed new name for the stretch of Route 28 was chosen.
The collaborative — representing the Ulster County towns of Hurley, Olive and Shandaken and the Delaware County villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville and towns of Middletown and Andes — was formed out of a state grant to the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development to handle administrative responsibilities. But state finances dried up, and the funding never materialized.
Subsequently, the Catskill Watershed Corp. was asked to fund the collaborative, and that agency’s board of directors contributed $50,000 in start-up funds to take the place of the state money that never arrived.
Deciding on a name for the 45-mile route is just one step in the process of applying for a scenic byway designation for state officials. More needs to be done before the official request is made.
The collaborative meets monthly.