RR logo

Front Page
Back Issues
Classified Ads
About Us

All in favor of PAC project, just not the location


BETHEL — Over thirty people spoke on the Gerry Foundation’s proposed performing arts center (PAC) at a joint session of the Bethel town and planning boards. All of them were in favor of the project—more or less.

At the May 14 public hearing held at the White Lake Fire House, many in attendance, such as Fosterdale Motorlodge owner Joe Tinari, felt that the PAC will be “the heart of Sullivan County,” while some questioned the location of that heart, as well as some of the arteries that it would utilize as it grows.

“Will casino gaming be able to sneak in to the performing arts district?” asked Bethel resident Ted Yeomans.

David Ginsberg of the Sullivan County Environmental Council voiced concerns about disposal of solid waste and how the grounds would be lit.

But the overwhelming opposition, came from people who—while in favor of the project as a whole—are unhappy about current plans to build on acreage that hosted the 1969 Woodstock concert. “Unspoiled, the site remains a unique Bethel landmark,” said John Miliano. “Build the PAC at a different location.”

“Being a Viet Nam vet,” said Ron Strezyk, who made the trip from Pennsylvania, “and a performing artist, I’m all for the PAC … just on another part of the land.” Keeping the land in a park-like state would be “a monument to peace … as important as any monument to war,” he said.

Other felt that it was not that important to keep the entire 37 acres of original concert site clear. “As far as the Woodstock site [is concerned], there’s a monument there already,” said Duke Devlin, “…that looks more like the Tomb of the Unknown Hippie than anything else. A performing arts center would be a [suitable] monument.”

Gerry Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Drapkin said that he was “very impressed with the cross section of opinion” offered at the public hearing. As for building on the original field, he said, “people are entitled to their opinion.”

One thing is certain—it is not the Gerry Foundation’s decision or the decision of people, who voiced their opinions at the public hearing. The final decision, said Drapkin “is up to the board.”

Carolyn Madsen, of the Woodstock Preservation Alliance and a major proponent of keeping the original site clear of development, agreed that it is the decision of the board. “They have to decide,” she said, “how they want to be remembered.”

What do you think? Talk about it on the discussion board!

  Front Page| Current Issue| Back Issues| Search
Problems? Comments? Contact the Webmaster.
Entire contents © 2002 by the author(s) and Stuart Communications, Inc.