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Henry Hudson Park home owned by town to be destroyed

Councilman Mark Hennessey noted it was his belief that there would be a potentially lengthy and costly process to undedicate the parkland that the home sits on before it could be handed over as a private residence or land use.

It was a notion that town attorney James Potter agreed with.

Charles Wickham, the director of field operations for the Department of Public Works, used to live at the home in return for "caretaker duties." In the past, the home was used by the town's Parks and Recreation Department.

Bethlehem does not pay taxes on the Selkirk home at the park because it is tax-exempt from the school district, town and county. The home is described on the Bethlehem assessment Web site as an 840-square-foot, single-family ranch that was built in 1940.

The riverfront property it sits on is assessed at $75,700.

Cunningham described Wickham's caretaker duties back in January as a sort of "park ranger" to oversee the riverfront park. Wickham used to look over the park, which has restrooms, a pavilion and a boat launch, after hours and on weekends.

The Henry Hudson Town Park home is one of two private dwellings currently owned by Bethlehem. The other home is occupied by Richard Sayward, the chief water treatment plant operator, who lives at 27 Patton Road in Voorheesville on the Vly Creek Reservoir.

Sayward's caretaker duties include a type of night watchman function because he lives at the reservoir and helps to keep the 497.9-acre plot secured around the clock, according to Cunningham.

Sayward told The Spotlight during a tour of his home and the property earlier this year that most of the trespassers he finds are people trying to fish the reservoir "at all hours of the night and day."

It is illegal to access the town's drinking supply in the Town of New Scotland.

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