Grindstone Island, located within the Clayton town limits, was the location of the July 24 meeting of the town board, at which several topics were discussed, including the island roadways ,the industrial wind project and Grindstone’s one room schoolhouse.
During the trip from the town dock to Dodge Hall, the town board made a pit stop at the Grindstone Island Research and Heritage Center, more commonly referred to as the red schoolhouse.
Elizabeth Raisbeck and Brenda Patch pointed out the new genealogy research room, which is a former restroom.
The room will house archives and 25 DVDs containing oral histories of island families. The heritage center is hoping to acquire a computer for the public to watch the DVDs. The room will be kept locked to protect the collection.
The heritage center committee designed and undertook the project, and the town of Clayton paid for materials needed.
The next project will be to remove the drop ceiling, to bring the schoolhouse back to its original look.
The schoolhouse was built in the 1800s, and numerous island children attended elementary school there. Town Councilman Chris Matthews was once a student at the school.
During the board meeting at Dodge Hall, Highway Superintendent Robert Boulton explained that he has found an opportunity for a hazard mitigation grant through FEMA. Alicia Dewey, assistant to Supervisor Justin Taylor, is working on applying for the grant in order to purchase two generators, one for the Clayton Opera House and town offices and another for the arena at Cerow Recreation Park. The town board passed a resolution to support the grant.
Mr. Boulton told island residents that highway department crews are working on the islands unpaved roads to alleviate drainage problems. He also said they will be spreading chloride on the surfaces to keep dust down and help protect ice from forming easily.
Mr. Boulton brought up the issue of discarded items left near the town landing area.
“Stepping off the dock, one can see it’s a beautiful island, but it gets a little ugly at times, when people leave their discarded items and white goods near the docks.”
A private hauler has offered to take large household items off the island but has let the unsightly items collect near the docks. Supervisor Justin Taylor stated that the town board does not endorse the practice, and he will inform the hauler that it is not an acceptable practice.
To temporarily alleviate the situation, Mr. Boulton has offered to pick up items, even if the highway crew needs to go house-to-house to do so. He announced his office and cell phone numbers and told the islanders in attendance that he does not mind receiving calls to solve roadway or other problems, night or day.
The Board discussed a letter to be sent to the New York State Public Service Commission to inform commissioners of the town board’s opinion on the proposed industrial wind project in neighboring Cape Vincent.
During the meeting , the councilmen decided to change the wording of the letter to state that they support home rule, but that the state should further evaluate how the turbines would affect the scenic vistas from the St. Lawrence River.
Councilman Mathews said that when the town of Clayton was originally asked by Cape Vincent to submit its opinion to the Public Service Commission, he had not realized the turbines would be nearly 500 feet high and close th the river and Clayton town line.
In a related issue, the board gave the go- ahead to start the search for a special consultant to guide th town through the Article 10 process of state review if wind company Iberdrola Renewables submits an application for a wind farm.
A request For proposals will be prepared as a first step to interview consultants.
Resident Chuck Ebbing asked the board to consider forming a committee to advise the town through the application process. Councilman George Kittle told him that the board would react appropriately to an application, and he also reminded the public that there are families within the town that are in favor of the wind project . Resident Zell Steever commented that, because of its number of solar arrays, he feels that the town is light years ahead in utilizing alternate energy.
The town board and meeting attendees were invited to partake in the dinner and dessert prepared by Island families before departing for their voyage back to the mainland.
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