July 11, 2008: Kingston Daily Freeman: "Shandaken angles for $83,000 grant"

ALLABEN - Shandaken Town Board members are putting the finishing touches on the wording of a grant application they hope will bring the town $83,333 to help the local economy.

Some last-minute concerns by Councilman Rob Stanley at a meeting earlier this week called the plan prepared by town Supervisor Peter Di- Sclafani into question, prompting the two to get together with members of the newly formed Economic Development Committee to tweak the language. Stanley argued that DiSclafani's request for funds would not be successful because it falls outside parameters set by the state.

There is not much time, however, to squabble over what the request will say.

DiSclafani said his plan is to use the funds to place new signs along state and county roads at the entrances to the town and its hamlets. He also wants to hire a public relations firm to prepare a marketing plan to attract visitors and to develop a townwide brochure.

The idea, in general, is to "get people interested in Shandaken," the supervisor said.

But Stanley fears DiSclafani may never get the chance.

He said his research shows that efforts like hiring a firm to prepare a plan would be passed over by the state because the grant program is designed to fund "bricks and mortar projects."

Stanley said he communicated directly with the state office administering the grants and was told that Shandaken's plan did not stand a chance. It was agreed that the plan could be salvaged with some last-minute rewording.

"Obviously, I'll make the changes," DiSclafani said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has created a "Central Catskill Park/Mountains Smart Growth Grant" program with a deadline of July 11. The maximum award is $83,333, and several towns between Andes and Olive along the state Route 28 corridor have a chance to get the same amount as Shandaken.

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