The Tusten Town Hall has a long history. Built in 1926 by the Narrowsburg Fire Department, it was the home of the Park Theater in the 1930s. The building was sold to the Town of Tusten in …
The Tusten Town Hall has a long history. Built in 1926 by the Narrowsburg Fire Department, it was the home of the Park Theater in the 1930s. The building was sold to the Town of Tusten in 1973.
Old-time residents will remember social dances there in the 1950s, hosted by the fire department. Town board meetings, community and family parties, pancake breakfasts, Election Day turkey dinners, regional planning meetings throughout the decades are among the hosts of reasons that the community has gathered in the basement town hall space.
This public and community space is at the heart of our community. And at this time of great disruption and disconnection, maintaining a community hall where residents can participate in government and discuss and explore community issues in a neutral, publicly owned space is essential. Public spaces, in general, play a vital role in the social and economic life of communities. Maintaining a public space contributes to a strong sense of community that is associated with improved well-being, increased feelings of safety and security, participation in community affairs and civic responsibility.
To that end, we need a town hall and meeting space that is owned by the community. We need a space that is made special and memorable by community events, family memories of anniversaries and important government meetings. We need a space that is available as a warming station, a cooling station and a place to hold an election, a repair cafe, a penny social or a baby shower.
Community assets such as a town hall are foundational to a vibrant community and need to be maintained as such.
In 2020, it was a good solution at the time for the Town of Tusten to buy the former Wayne Bank property to preserve the public parking lot behind it. Now it is time for the town to explore, with its residents, the best use of that Main Street property.
To move the town offices to Main Street offers no benefit to Main Street. The town offices and meeting space on Bridge Street are already sited in a perfect location, conveniently situated near the library, the fire house and the Upper Delaware Council. The building itself has been upgraded through the years and has convenient parking.
There are a lot of changes coming to the Town of Tusten, including proposed alterations to its zoning that will increase the business district substantially. Moving the town offices to Main Street and selling the current town hall ought not be one of those changes.
A civil and civic discussion about what the town could to do with that building, and what kinds of business and services are needed in general, would be a most worthy exploration.
Congratulations for the Tusten Town Board for leading the way to that exploration.
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