Board unveils new plan to serve senior citizen groups

Chester. The rules are easy to follow and will apply to all senior clubs, says Supervisor Bob Valentine. “We are just doing things the way they are supposed to be done according to the law," he said.

| 29 Jan 2020 | 06:53

The Chester town board has unveiled a new plan to more equitably serve senior citizens, age 55 and over, who want to use the new senior and recreation center.

The town opened the center in July 2018 to give seniors more room for activities than they had in the old center, in the library basement. However, the senior group that used the center the most, the Golden Age Club, still had a long waiting list.

Supervisor Bob Valentine told The Chronicle after the board's Jan. 22 meeting that the proposed new policy was basically a guideline on how to manage 55-and-over groups at the center. All groups will be following the same boilerplate rules, he said.

“We are just doing things the way they are supposed to be done according to the law,"he said. "The money doesn’t belong to me to give away however I see fit. It belongs to the residents of the town of Chester.”

The groups will receive no direct funding from the town, he said.

The rules are easy to follow, Valentine said, and will apply to all senior clubs. They are as follows:

● Each group must pay its own insurance.

● Each group must sign a hold-harmless agreement.

● Each group must schedule their activities.

● Senior trips are booked by the town and will be available to all.

● Public financing can't be given to any private club, per state law.

● Clubs will provide their own amenities, including beverages, food and prizes for Bingo and other games.

Valentine also said that since he’s become supervisor, many new things happened for seniors, including the Snow Ball Dance at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, which also belongs to the town; the senior prom at the senior center, and several overnight trips.

The Senior Spring Fling is coming to the Performing Arts Center on April 24.

Valentine said the board would be happy to listen to town residents' suggestions about the center, at any time.

Music series continues

The music plays on: Valentine announced that Richard Logothetis' Lawn Concerts at Sugar Loaf Crossing (Kings Highway at the railroad tracks) will be held every Thursday, t, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in July and August.

The concert series began at the Lycian Centre, now the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, in 2004. Richard and Susan Logothetis built the Lycian and operated it for many years.

In 2012, the Lycian's new owners decided not to continue the series. So Richard and Susan Logothetis kept the concerts going, and they're now in their 16th year.

The tent holds 200 concert-goers. Parking is on the street or at the firehouse nearby. Bring chairs and blankets. Food is provided by the Sugar Loaf Engine Company, including burgers, hot dogs, fried, chips, ice cream, popcorn and water. This is a pet-friendly environment, as long as all animals are on leashes.

Concerts are funded by "passing the hat." Anyone wanting to become a sponsor may contact Susan at

For more information visit of

In other town business:
Water testing: Councilman Tom Becker, who worked for the Village of Chester water department for 32 years, did the highway department water flow test free of charge with the aid of Bill Keller and Gary Green."The Field Crest water system that serves the highway department was not designed for fire fighting," he said. The sign in front of the highway department building by the fire hydrant says, "Not for fire fighting purposes.' There is only one fire hydrant that's located within the fence at the village's water tank. The village's water department installed the hydrant inside the locked fence so that there would fire fighting protection available to the Field Crest Housing Development."
Engineering costs: Becker checked with surrounding towns and learned that most towns go with a per-hour charge for paying their engineers. Chester goes with an $80,000 annual retainer. "So we could go to an hourly rate, if not this year, next year," he said.
Noise ordinance: Supervisor Valentine said there was still a lot of work to do on the town's noise ordinance.
Billboard message: Becker thanked Dave Stevenson for his free art work. Stevenson created several three-minute spots for the billboards located on Chester property. The three minute spots would be interchangeable and present the positive qualities of the town.
Senior Spring Fling: Councilwoman Cindy Smith reported that April 24 is the date of the Senior Spring Fling, for town senior citizens, to be held at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center.
Energy savings: Councilman Bob Courtenay said he's looking into solar energy grants offered by the NYS Department of Energy to trim energy costs.
Employee handbook: Courtenay said the employee booklet needs to be updated. Bill Tully was supervisor the last time it was updated. An update is needed to protect the town and its employees, he said. All board members agreed this needed to happen.
Monthly budget reports: Courtenay wants monthly budget reports and discussions. It’s a path to understanding how the town is doing with its money, he said.
Soliciting: Residents Chris Maurer and Lydia Cuadros want soliciting banned in town. Maurer said people on the "do not knock" list can be walking their dogs and be approached by realtors asking if they want to sell their houses. People on the verge of losing their homes because they're behind on their mortgages are especially vulnerable to real estate solicitation. There are black top and roofing scams, as well as aggressive realtors, she said."Please protect us from realtors who are aggressively coming to us to get us to sell our homes."