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Bloomingburg church building back better

Samantha Montagna
Posted 5/29/23

MAMAKATING - Over the last few town board meetings in Mamakating, Town Supervisor Mike Robbins has been giving small updates on the renovation of the Dutch Reformed Church in Bloomingburg. This …

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Bloomingburg church building back better


MAMAKATING - Over the last few town board meetings in Mamakating, Town Supervisor Mike Robbins has been giving small updates on the renovation of the Dutch Reformed Church in Bloomingburg. This renovation was the source of conflict between the Bloomingburg Restoration Foundation (BRF) and the town over the last couple of years. Issues pertaining to receiving the grant money, contractor qualifications, amongst others delayed the project. However, Robbins announced a couple months ago that work had begun on the church. 

Work completed on the church included roof repair, steeple repair, and painting, and according to Kerron Barnes’s, Mamakating’s Grant Writer, Facebook post, the exterior woodwork repair and painting was completed May 23. Town Historian Virdanna Lawrence commented that the inside will be painted in the future and updates will be coming. 

During the town meeting on May 16, Robbins noted that the town had to put money upfront to Yankee Construction for $5,900 for some of the repairs. Some money for the restoration was paid for by the American Rescue Plan funds, but the remainder of it will be paid for by a grant. Robbins said the town would be reimbursed for the $5,900 once the grant money arrives. 

Councilman Gary Forthoffer noted the craftmanship of the repairs of the church and the attention to detail the workers had for the woodwork. Forthoffer stated he was very pleased with the work and looked forward to the 200th anniversary celebration of the church. The oldest existing church in Sullivan County will be celebrated on August 19th with a rain date of August 20th, Forthoffer said. Activities will be announced. 

Other town  project updates

Robbins stated that the town received the DASNY grant number to renovate the New York State Police Barracks on Rt. 209, and the project is moving along. 

Councilman Matt Mordas announced that 347 people visited the Mamakating Environmental Education Center in April, and 176 visited in the first two weeks of May. 

Former Councilman John Lacey announced that the Memorial Day parade this year will occur on May 29th, and the American Legion will be joining forces with the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) this year. The parade will kick off at 92 Pine Street in front of the Legion. Lacey also noted that 1,000 flags will be placed in veteran cemeteries. Lacey also thanked Lawrence for her continued support and care of the cemeteries. 

Lacey also told the board that the Senior Citizen Program in Mamakating continues to grow with 154 members. The lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays has a great menu, and attendance keeps growing, said Lacey. The seniors have an upcoming trip to the Villa Roma Resort in the town of Callicoon to see The Bee Gees, and 43 people have already signed up. 

One resident during public comment expressed concerns about Short-Term Rentals and the incoming migrants from New York City. Chris Leser also asked the board if they have thought about the migrants coming to Mamakating. Robbins said they have not heard anything about migrants being placed in Mamakating. Robbins stated, “we don’t want that in our town,” and “we are right with you.” 

Litter Concerns

During the May 2nd Town Board meeting, Mordas expressed concerns about the epidemic of littering he sees in the town. Mordas explained that the littering problem, which is especially bad on Shawanga Lodge Road, is different than the dumping problem because it is the bears that are breaking into garbage cans and tearing bags apart leaving garbage strewn all over. The problem is that residents do not want to “step up” and “do the right thing” and clean the garbage up. 

Mordas continued to say that he does not want to have to make a law addressing this as it is embarrassing, and he doesn’t want to increase the laws in the town. There are ways to prevent bears from getting into garbage such as using ratchet straps on cans and spraying ammonia to detract bears, said Mordas. He noted that it has come to a point where action needs to be taken, but he wanted everyone to participate in cleaning up. 

Mamakating honors late superintendent, judge

Robbins held a moment of silence for John Platt, who was a former highway superintendent who passed away on April 18. 

During the May 16 meeting, Robbins held a moment of silence for Joel Welsh. 

Welsh passed away on May 5th and was a dedicated member of the Town of Mamakating. He served as a judge for 42 years in Mamakating in addition to being a member of the Wurtsboro Fire Department, Mamakating Lions Club International, and past commander of the Mamakating American Legion Post #1266.

Robbins stated that he wanted to honor Welsh given his extensive service to the town. He suggested that they could name the courtroom or the court after him but asked the board for any other ideas they may have. 


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