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New Sign At Ripley Beach Goes Missing

People have jumped from the cliff above the cove at Ripley Beach as a rite of passage for decades. A sign prohibiting jumping was removed by someone within 48 hours of being installed. Photo by David Prenatt

RIPLEY — A “No Jumping/Diving — Injury or Death May Result” sign at Ripley Beach was dug up and removed shortly after being placed.

Deputy Supervisor Mike Rowe, who oversees the Ripley Beach Project, explained the incident to town council members at their regular meeting June 10.

The sign was installed recently to discourage individuals from “taking the plunge,” because it can be incredibly dangerous if strong breakers are coming in, Rowe said.

The sign, though cemented in, could not be buried very deep because of the shale that lies about 1 to 1.5 feet from the surface. The sign disappeared within 48 hours of being installed, Rowe said.

Although jumping off the cliff has been something of a rite of passage for local youth, each year first responders risk their own safety rescuing people from the water at the base of the cliff, Rowe said.

“We usually have to rescue a couple a year,” he said, noting that some were not jumpers, but were people who swam into the cove and were unable to escape due to high wave action. “There have also been deaths.”

Jumping or diving off the cliff is always a dangerous endeavor, but “when the waves are coming in hard, it is treacherous,” he said.

Rowe also made note of the fact that there is no swimming permitted without a lifeguard, according to New York state rules, and this information is posted at all beaches in the region. Nevertheless, someone did not want a sign telling you “Do this, don’t do that…” posted at Ripley Beach, even though it was intended to prevent accidents.

In other business, council members approved a bond resolution for $450,000, of which $150,000 will be grant money and $300,000 will be a long-term, low-interest loan from USDA Rural Development. The money will be used for improvements to the town highway garage, said Town Supervisor Doug Bowen.

“We have to use up the loan portion for the project first, then go into the grant portion,” Bowen said.

Bowen noted that COVID aid (CDBG-CV) which is part of the CARES Act provides for a supplemental appropriation of grants, and this project depends on this funding.

“This project is contingent on the Federal Government approving the COVID grant funding,” he said.

Bowen also told board members that he received a letter from Ripley School Superintendent William Caldwell asking that the school be designated as the lead agency for the upcoming school project. State Education Department mandates the school district as the lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review, he said.

The school district is asking that other interested agencies, such as the town of Ripley, who wish to reply, send their response as soon as possible. Council members were in favor of the designation of the school district as lead agency for SEQR.

Bowen also received approval from the board for a request for proposals for administrative services concerning the Community Development Block Grant project. The town of Ripley was awarded $748,700 in CDBG funds for replacement of the sewer main along Route 20, he said.

Board members also approved a motion to submit a CDBG application as part of the Consolidated Funding Application which is due at the end of July, giving Bowen authority to proceed with the application.

Bowen informed council members that bids for Water District 4 came in over budget.

“We are working to shave about $60,000 off the project so we will be able to award the bid,” he said. “Unfortunately, the cost of building materials is increasing rapidly.”

In another matter, due to a vacancy on the town Planning Board, council members approved the appointment of Julie Rice, so the town will have a full planning board.

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