The goal of this newsletter is to share a bit of local news and shine a spotlight on the interesting things that are happening  in Hillsdale and nearby.

Thanks to the efforts of our Clean Energy Committee led by Tom Carty, Hillsdale recently received an $80,000 grant from NYSERDA.  
Here's the full press release from NYSERDA.

The Town of Hillsdale has received an $80,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Peter Cipkowski, Hillsdale Town Supervisor, said, "The grant money will be used to take additional steps to reduce the Town's energy costs and its dependence on fossil fuels to heat and power Town buildings."

Announced by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advances the Governor's Reforming the Energy (REV) strategy by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its Clean Energy Standard mandate of having half of the state's electricity coming from renewable energy resources by 2030.

Cipkowski said the Town was proud to be recognized as a clean energy leader. "I hope all of our residents take a moment to congratulate Hillsdale's Clean Energy Committee for applying for the grant and for putting Hillsdale on the map in the area of energy conservation."
"Congratulations to the Town of Hillsdale for its strong commitment to reducing energy use, decreasing harmful emissions, and cutting operating costs in the community," said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "At the heart of the state's efforts, under Governor Cuomo's leadership, are the cities, towns, and villages that are taking control of their clean energy future and helping build a cleaner, more sustainable New York."
Hillsdale was first in Columbia County to be designated a Clean Energy Community after successfully completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities Initiative. The Town:
  • Adopted a Benchmarking policy to track and report the energy use of the town's municipal buildings.
  • Streamlined the local approval processes for solar projects through adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit.
  • Completed energy code enforcement training on best practices in energy code enforcement training for the Town's code officer.
  • Installed an electrical vehicle charging station that will provide free energy 'fill ups' to residents and visitors for the next two years through a grant it received from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).  
Additional clean energy action items communities can take to achieve designation include:
  • Performing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to municipal buildings.
  • Implementing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) so residents can gain greater choice and control over energy use a group.
  • Earning Climate Smart Communities Certification through the DEC for developing a comprehensive program to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment.
  • Establishing an Energize NY Finance Program that enables long-term, affordable Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at commercial buildings and not-for-profits.
  • Participating in a community-based Solarize campaign to reduce the solar project costs through joint purchasing.
  • Converting streetlights to energy efficient LED technology. 
Supervisor Cipkowski said that Hillsdale will use this money to further invest in significant energy saving projects. These projects are:
  • Changing all the Town's street lights from incandescent to LED fixtures. Making this change can result in a 65 percent reduction in the Town's current street lighting costs.
  • Installing solar panels on the Town Highway Garage to further reduce the cost of the Town's energy usage.
Cipkowski also said that "NYSERDA recently approved the contract to proceed with the two projects, which will go out to bid shortly. Work should be completed by late 2019 and at that point we can expect to see significant reductions in the Town's energy consumption," he said.
"My hope is that town residents will be inspired by these efforts and undertake their own steps to reduce their energy costs," said Cipkowski. "Not only will they save money, but together they will be making a significant contribution to a clean environment, which is one of the factors that draws people to Hillsdale as wonderful place to live and to visit," he said.
Once all funding is exhausted for large or small/medium categories in a region, local governments designated a Clean Energy Community are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant, on a first-come, first-serve basis until such funds are exhausted.
Clean Energy Community  Coordinators are also available at no charge to help  communities  develop and prioritize clean energy goals, access easy-to-use resources such as guidance documents and case studies and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities. 
Clean Energy Communities

Though the Roe Jan Park is the home of Hillsdale's Summer Youth Program, the Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market, weddings, and casual trailblazers (the Park has over 5 miles of trails), the western section is reserved for agricultural use and is NOT open to the public. Owned by the State of New York, the 300-acre Roe Jan Park is managed by the Town of Hillsdale. 


Honoring the dedicated members of the Hillsdale Fire Company, a benefit concert is scheduled for Sunday, October 14 . Part of a series hosted by Richard Collens called CHAMBER MUSIC AND JAZZ THE WAY THEY WERE MEANT TO BE HEARD, the concert features music by David Ostwald and his Louis Armstrong Eternity Jazz Band. $75 per person contribution - make checks payable to the Hillsdale Fire Company . For details and to reserve your seat, contact

Columbus Day weekend brings plenty of opportunities to mingle with neighbors across Hillsdale, Harlemville and Austerlitz. Check out these upcoming seasonal festivals:

Hillsdale was proud to support the sixth Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour - a one-of-a kind community event open and free to all.   This year saw record turnout    The Ramble is entirely non-profit and organized and run by unpaid volunteers from the Roe Jan towns of Ancram, Copake, and Hillsdale. Some details:

Here are some Ramble stats:

Total Riders = 418 including 75 walk-ins (a 40% increase from last year)
Of the Riders, 51 were children under 18.
The breakout by route was:
10 mile = 92
18 mile = 83
25 mile = 72
35 mile = 60
50 mile = 111
The geographic breakdown of ridership:
Columbia County 27% (of which about 2/3's came from the 3 towns)
New York City 22%
Dutchess County 21%
Other NY State 16%
Connecticut & Massachusetts 12%
Other 2%
Best of all, this year's Ramble raised a total (so far) of $19,375 for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. $5,000 alone was donated in person at the Ramble.  
Donations to HVRTA in connection with the Ramble can still be made at:   Roe Jan Ramble.

The Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market (CHFM) wants to extend its agreement with the Town of Hillsdale to use the Roe Jan Park for a Winter Market.  If approved by the Hillsdale Town Board, the market would run through December 22.
With obvious benefits to local farmers and consumers, another huge benefit: Double Up Food Bucks  allows SNAP (food stamp) users to receive up to $20 in additional spending power at the market.  In fact, CHFM is only one of two local farmers markets that offer this program, organized through Field & Fork with support from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.

Double Up Food Bucks is a SNAP incentive that matches federal food assistance benefits $1 for $1 to increase affordability and access to fresh healthy foods for low-income consumers. The program also helps direct dollars to farmers who sell at farmers markets and to other food retail, ultimately strengthening our local food and agriculture economy.
For more information, stop by the Manager's table at the market or write to

In the northwest corner of the Town of Hillsdale, long ago... read the latest installment from our Town Historians:

Almost 140 years ago the tidy, bright green building at the intersection of Harlemville Rd. and County Route 21C was constructed as a public schoolhouse for the residents of Harlemville, a hamlet in northwest Hillsdale.  In 1880 Harlemville numbered 100 people and had two stores and a hotel.  Very little evidence of that community remains, except for the schoolhouse.

Thanks for reading this newsletter.   If you want to promote your upcoming event on the Hillsdale calendar, share an old photo, or write an article or two, I'd love to hear from you.
Peter Cipkowski, Town Supervisor and Town Crier