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2023 Foundational Initiatives - Full Size .PDF



Dr. Richard L. Thurston, Esq.

Supervisor, Town of Wappinger

On January 22nd ten Asian nations and approximately 2 billion people globally will celebrate the 2023 Lunar New Year: the Year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit symbolizes good luck, longevity, hope, peace, and prosperity. I am very hopeful that 2023 will bless our Community with the characteristics of the Rabbit and … much more.

Following are the “W-A-P-P-I-N-G-E-R” initiatives for 2023. These initiatives build upon our many “W-A-P-P-I-N-G-E-R” accomplishments since 1/1/2018. For new residents, each letter features a special focus.

“W”  – for WELLNESS of our Community. Wellness is the paramount, overarching objective of our initiatives. Each of the individual letter initiatives strive to achieve greater inter-community: (i) connectedness (social support, civic engagement  support and participation), (ii) livability (i.e., human services, public safety, parks and recreation, transportation, education, etc.); and (iii) equity (where basic needs are met, equal opportunity, and financial stability).

“A”  – for ARTS, CULTURE, and ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT.   Cultural well-being is a cornerstone of Our Community. Positive relationships between arts, culture, and academic (i.e., WCSD) sectors are critical. We will offer more programs in this area.

“P”  – for our PEOPLE (seniors, youth, veterans, heroes, accessibility for all, and diversity). New and expanded initiatives will launch in 2023 for each of these people-oriented subcategories. We have started the year focused on our Veterans, as discussed in our current podcast.  Public safety and security of our people continues at the top of the list.

“P”  – our second “P”,  for PARKS & RECREATION. These include existing parks: Spookhill Park, Phases 2 & 3; Schlathaus, Carnwath; Airport Drive; Rockingham, and Castle Point. We are investigating a possible new recreation center or expansion at one of our existing sites. New programs to recognize volunteer activities, citizenship and community identity will be sponsored

“I” – for INFRASTRUCTURE (water, sewer, roads & highways). Beyond continued road paving/improvement, initiatives will i focus on easements and catch basins, better access and parking to/at our parks and recreation facilities, a study on Town-wide drainage/flooding issues and MS4 compliance.

“N”  – for NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. Environment protection throughout the Town will continue to be a top priority, especially the preservation of our existing farmland.  We will address/start implementation of both the Wappingers and the Sprout Creek Nine-Element Watershed Management Plans (2 plans). We will enact a Water Source Protection Plan. Other initiatives will materialize, including possible moratoriums.

“G”  – for continued GOVERNMENTAL CODE REFORM and ENFORCEMENT (i.e., of our town hall organization and staff, town code, and ethics). We will continue to make Town services even more responsive to our residential/business needs. Amendments to our Town Code will bring the Code up to the 21st Century. We will hold a workshop in February specifically on this topic.

“E”  – for ECONOMIC GROWTH and FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.     The town’s future depends on sustainable economic growth. I will continue to focus our efforts on Routes 9 and certain sections of Route 9D. Also, with the completion of the 376 Roundabout, we will focus on development in the vicinity of the airport. Discussions are ongoing with Dutchess County Departments and East Fishkill. My administration has been highly focused successfully on our fiscal well-being and will continue to do so.

“R”  – for RESILIENCY. Similar to “Wellness,” we must place additional focus/efforts on sustainability to use available/new resources to respond to and withstand any adverse conditions. We have done this quite successfully during Covid and past natural disasters.

I am proud of the work that we have done together since January 1, 2018. As noted above, during 2023 we will build upon that work. Despite false rumors to the contrary, I am committed to take additional actions for the betterment of our residents. Throughout 2023, I pledge that to continue to tap into my extensive experience to build upon past progress made. Anyone who wants to question or challenge these plans with better ideas, please feel free to schedule a meeting with me in my office! My door is always open.