Updated: Jun 20, 2022
Claverack’s need for a new town hall is a golden opportunity to reduce the town’s carbon
footprint , realize ongoing energy cost savings, and help build a more sustainable Claverack.
While the old building is more than ready for demolition, behind the existing facility is a
priceless treasure of natural beauty with a waterfall, dense forest, and the overgrown ruins of
the 19th century paper mill. And across the Agawamuck Creek lies the High Falls Conservation Area. This remarkable setting can be redesigned to attract residents and visitors and create a lasting legacy for our town.
How we design and build the new town hall and surrounding public spaces on this 1.9 acre site is the next critical question. The Climate Smart Committee has made a series of
recommendations in keeping with the Climate Smart commitment to sustainability:
Design the building to the highest feasible energy efficiency standards, aiming for net-zero.
Develop hydropower from the Creek to power the new building and supplement with solar; feasibility has been established and funding is available.
Design public spaces around the building to serve the needs of the community , and on the creek side, provide safe access to the natural beauty of the creek area.
Develop an education center highlighting the riverine ecology and unique industrial history of the site.
Partner with the Columbia Land Conservancy to connect the town hall site with the High Falls Conservation Area via a walkway over the dam.
Apply for NYS funding from one of several programs; DEC’s Environmental Protection Fund-Parks (EPF) grants or the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) grants for planning and/or implementation. Other grant programs will also be explored. The town’s solid financial position will be an asset in attracting outside funding support .
As of early June, the Town Board has yet to address planning for the new town hall, but
Supervisor Weigelt says planning will start as soon as the engineering study is available. The
CSC has recommended that a first step be to develop a draft concept plan for the entire project to help the Town Board frame all its parts. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape our town’s future and deserves consideration by all of us.
The Climate Smart Committee of Claverack residents includes volunteers with experience in
similar projects and stands ready to assist the town to initiate a planning process to serve the
community’s many needs and meet our Climate Smart goals. We look forward to working with many in the community to achieve our high aspirations.