The Clearwater Festival—dubbed the Great Hudson River Revival—is set to take over Croton Point Park for Father’s Day weekend, June 17 & 18, 2006 from 10:00 AM to dusk daily. For over three decades, the non-profit environmental group Clearwater has attracted as many as 15,000 fans to its cultural festival which is designed and implemented to create an enjoyable, entertaining family experience in alignment with its environmental, social and business sustainability standards over the course of the two-day event.
Obviously, with a packed lineup of well-known musicians—like Pete Seeger, Janis Ian, Michelle Shocked Dan Bern, Lucy Kaplansky, Black 47 and many more—the Village of Croton-on-Hudson becomes a weekend home to thousands of hungry and thirsty fans (check the empty soft drink and beer coolers on Sunday night at Shop-Rite) from far and wide. Though many of those in attendance for the festival set-up camp at Croton Point Park, others ride a Metro North train or simply drive to Croton.
One of the great perks offered by Clearwater for festival goers who arrive by car has always been free parking at the Croton Harmon parking lot and a free shuttle to take them in and out of the park. Alternately, parking inside Croton Point Park is $10.00 per car per day. However, getting in and out of the park during peak times can be a lengthy ordeal. Thus, the regularly operated bus shuttles—that pick up riders at the main gate—can be of great convenience to weary fans at the end of the day.
What a partnership—a Hudson River town hosting the Clearwater Festival. Each year the Clearwater organizers write a letter to Village Manager Herbek requesting permission to use the parking lot for the bus shuttle service. No problem. Clearwater is insured, they clean up and remove any garbage from the premises. Why then does Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt—apparently acting on his own during the May 15, 2006, village board meeting (see following video clip) and pending his own re-election in 2007—seek to jam visitors to Croton with a parking fee at next year’s event?
Crotonblog is confused as to why the village is able to continue freely spending thousands of dollars for things like legal fees in the case of 1A Croton Point Avenue—under Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt’s leadership—and at the same time make it a priority to pursue a few hundred dollars in parking fees on an otherwise free day “down there”… Further, does Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt’s “pet” annual Rotary Club Car Show—held in September—require its visitors to pay a parking fee at the Harmon lot? Certainly not…
So, once again, we ask the Mayor, “What’s up, Doc?”
Village Manager Rick Herbek: “The next letter is from Ron Aja, the events director of the Clearwater festival writing to request the use of the parking lot at the Croton-Harmon train station for the weekend of June 17th and 18th. Clearwater will be fully responsible for the cleanup and disposal of litter that may result from use of the lot. And Mr. Aja will be sending us a copy of the certificate of insurance naming the village as an additional insured. And it will also be providing free shuttle bus service from the station to the festival at Croton Point Park.”
Mayor Greg Schmidt: “That’s just a notification to us.”
Trustee Charlie Kane: “No problem.”
Mayor Greg Schmidt: “What I would actually like to do with this is to put it on a work session for the future. Not for this year but to discuss um, how we proceed in future years with that down there. Perhaps the village should be charging, not Clearwater but charging parkers down there. Ah, the county certainly charges for parking there and ah, the village maybe missing an opportunity to charge for parking down there. So, I think it is something that we should just ah, discuss and see what we can do with that.”