Expanded parking in the works for Red Hook firehouse

The Red Hook Village Board has just renewed its fire protection contract with the Red Hook Fire Company, while plans for additional parking for firehouse events continue to be discussed.

At a July 24 workshop, Mayor Ed Blundell said partnership between the company and the village helped secure the deal, including land easements for the fire company’s solar panels and access to village property for a possible community parking lot next to the firehouse.

He added that the fire company agreed not to raise the contracted amount of $104,737.50 a year for two years, which will help the village stay under the state-mandated 2 percent property tax cap.

Since early 2014, the company, an independent corporation, has been having informal discussions with the village and the town of Red Hook about adding 24 to 40 new parking spaces on the east side of the firehouse building, with new access from Firehouse Lane.

At a Feb. 20 village board workshop, Fire Company Board of Director’s Chair Jim Mulvey, board of directors member Robert Frey and engineer Mark Graminski discussed the pros and cons of the project, citing overflow from the current parking lot during community events and elections that can block fire truck access and pose dangers for pedestrians and drivers alike.

“There are events going on there almost every night,” said Mulvey. “People need a place to park, and right now they park all over the place.”

Village Trustee Steve Zacharzuk agreed, saying, “The voting last year was horrendous. We were locked out of the parking lot and everybody had to park across the street. It was very dangerous.”

At the time, Graminski was concerned about an active well six feet behind the firehouse and an old electricity pole in the way of the proposed access to the new lot. Mulvey said Central Hudson had estimated that it would cost $10,000 to take the pole down, but he thought that could be adjusted.

Blundell told the Observer in July that the village and the fire company are still working on the parking idea but there have been no updated sketches submitted yet.

“The intentions are there, but the specifics are not,” Blundell said.

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