The lack of mail service at Harness Estates is causing residents hardship.
The subdivision is located by Murray Avenue, off Scotchtown Avenue and Route 207. Residents living at Cahill Drive and Harness Road, some of whom have lived at Harness Estates for six years, have never had mail delivery. For most residents, it means a daily trip to the post office to pick up their mail.
Residents told Goshen village trustees at a recent meeting that it was hard for those with young children to make this daily trek. And working people come home after the post office is closed.
“According to the postmaster, within 30 days after a road is paved and dedicated to the village, mail will be delivered,” said Harness Road resident Emily Diaz.
This is the crux of the problem: since the road hasn’t been completed, it never was dedicated as a village road.
Within several days after the village board meeting on Oct. 28, road construction crews were seen at the corner of Cahill Drive and Harness Road working to complete the roads.
Board 'taken by surprise'
After the meeting, Village Mayor Mike Nuzzolese said the “board was taken by surprise” by the citizens’ concerns. He found it upsetting they’ve waited six years to bring the problem to the board’s attention.
“This was the first that we heard of the problem," Nuzzolese said. "They never notified the village or came to a village board meeting before."
A petition signed by 17 residents was delivered to New York Senator Jen Metzger’s office but never passed on to village board members.
The Harness Estates project manager, Frank Jackson, acknowledged that his crew was now working on getting the roads finished. When the top coating is done, the village will take over the roads, he said. Jackson said he’s been on the job only for the past year and a half, and that his crew is “doing the best that they can.”
Diaz said other road problems exist.
“There’s only one working street light for both streets," she said. "It’s so dark around here at night.”
Plus, she finds the ditches running alongside the roads, which are from 4 to 20 feet deep, to be a safety hazard.
“Can you imagine driving down Cahill at night, maybe a snowy or icy night, and going off the road into a 20-foot ditch?” she asked.
The roadsides along the ditches are reinforced with stone block, but they are nevertheless exposed, without any permanent barriers to prevent cars skidding over them or children falling off. They are currently cordoned off by orange plastic fencing, of the type often seen at construction sites, but they won't stop a vehicle from plowing through.
'We've been patient, nothing has happened'
Resident Heraid Joseph has lived in Harness Estates for four years. He and his wife have three young children, ages one, four and seven. It's been difficult for the family to not get mail delivery. When he was deployed to Iraq for a year, the job was left solely to his wife.
“I thought when I came back from Iraq, the project here would be fully finished, he said. "But how disappointing to find that there was no progress."
He said developers had told residents that when Cahill Drive was completed, mail delivery would start; then when Harness Road was done, it would start. the latest is that when the whole development is completed, mail delivery will begin. The developer is currently expanding the subdivision by building more homes.
“We’ve been patient, but here we are, a year later, and nothing has happened,” said Joseph.
Diaz says she’s “flabbergasted” that there’s been one issue after another at her home in Harness Estates. Diaz said the electrical panel wasn’t secured to the wall properly. There was flooding in the basement because of a misaligned French drain. Electrical wires were left hanging behind the walls rather than secured in boxes. There are no screens on the windows, and outside siding pops off.
Diaz moved into her home in June 2017. She was promised that all problems would be fixed by the closing, but that wasn’t the case. She and her husband have taken care of some projects themselves, at a cost.
But the roads and postal and UPS deliveries are out of their control. She and the other affected residents are hoping that the road crew finishes the job, that the road is dedicated, and home mail delivery can finally begin.