The Hyde Park Sewer District Project that developed momentum earlier this year is still on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The town’s Downtown Initiative plan includes a central sewer system to allow commercial sites to expand or redevelop their current properties for business and residential use. 

The town’s commercial district does not currently have a sewer system. 

“When people are exploring renting spaces, they are driven away by the absence of sewer,” said Town Supervisor Aileen Rohr. 

The Hyde Park Town Board has gathered outside funding to ensure that the amount the district must bond will be affordable for property owners. 

The sewer project received a $75k grant from Dutchess County to help with district formation involving legal development of the district and engineering refinements. 

Many homeowners, business owners and property owners attended the first public hearing held for the project back in March. The town board updated a map, plan and report after receiving the responses from the hearing. 

While the board was planning to schedule a second public hearing, the pandemic hit and paused the project. Due to the closing of businesses and town, county and state governments, COVID-19 changed the economic landscape for Hyde Park.

The town board must hold a second public hearing before holding a referendum vote for property owners in the proposed district to move forward with the project. 

The town sent an informal survey to property owners to evaluate if the district formation process should continue. According to Rohr, of the eighty-one letters sent, 37 owners responded with 25 asking for the project to be delayed.

Although the feedback was intended to be anonymous, many people signed their names saying they would love to support the project but could not afford it right now. 

“We have shelved that project for now despite our disappointment,” said Rohr. “The documents are ready to roll; in fact, we can pick the project back up when the economy improves.”

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