Putnam County lawmakers are considering a proposal by Smart Outdoors to place signs, like the ones located on the Westchester County bike path, on the Putnam County Bike Trail.
By Holly Crocco: The Putnam Legislature is considering a proposal by a local company to install signage on the Putnam County Bike Path at no cost to the county. Ivan Bellotto of Smart Outdoor, Inc. – Sponsoring Paths for the Future, presented a safety sign initiative to lawmakers during their Feb. 16 Physical Services Committee meeting. The proposal includes installation of mile markers every quarter-mile along the 12-mile trail, which are uploaded to the county emergency services’ computer-aided design system to improve EMS response time and identify exact caller location in the event of an emergency.
In addition, signage is pro-posed at 12 to 14 access points that would include QR codes that can be scanned by a smart phone to see what parks or businesses are nearby, the local weather forecast, and events that may be happening. They would also include bike path rules and regulations, as well as mapping. All expenses, including de-sign, fabrication, installation and maintenance, would be covered by Smart Outdoor, which will solicit sponsorships for each sign. According to Bellotto, whether a tree falls on a sign or it is marked with graffiti, “We’re responsible for everything.” He also said his team responds to calls about damaged signs immediately. “I live here, so if I were to have a call, we’d be out that day,” he said. According to Bellotto, every sign will incorporate one sponsor, and there will be additional advertising on the technology side, when someone scans a QR code with their smart phone. “We will send everyone from the Parks Department, or Putnam County – whoever we’re dealing with – the sponsor, and let you know what that sponsor looks like, and if you’re ready to go with that, we’ll close the deal,” he explained. Smart Outdoors is seeking a five-year contract with the county, which may be extended if both sides are satisfied with the arrangement. “I live in Putnam County and I’m so excited to bring this to Putnam County,” said Bellotto. Westchester County is currently in contract with Smart Outdoor, with signage placed every quarter-mile and at every entrance along the34.6-mile trial from the Bronx to the Putnam County line. According to Bellotto, the closest sign is located at Baldwin Place in Somers, where there is a mile marker and trailhead. “I do think this is a giant benefit not only to the community, but to the bike path,” said Legislator Joseph Castellano, R-Brewster. “I think it brings a world of information to people who are walking through. It’ll connect with local business, which there are plenty of businesses out there that are trying to work with the bike path, to bring people off the bike path to hopefully spend money in Putnam County. ”Legislator Ginny Nacerino, R-Patterson, agreed. “This is starkly different from the signage we were considering a few years back, which was based more on advertising,” she said. “This is incorporating technology and safety, and awareness to their surroundings, as well, which really speaks to thinking about and projecting to some of the issues that might arise on the bike path and having all our ducks in a row, should any crime occur, should any maintenance be needed, should people get lost on the trail. ”Legislator Nancy Montgomery, D-Philipstown, said the signs would be a welcome addition to the bike path, but added that she hopes the Legislature and the county executive will develop a policy regarding advertising. “Local businesses don’t have a lot of money, especially now, for this kind of sponsorship, and I’d hate for this use of real estate to go to national businesses,” she said. “I’d hope to reserve it for our local businesses. ”Committee Chairman Carl Albano, R-Carmel, noted that the current proposal is preliminary in nature and that lawmakers can further dissect it as it goes through the approval process.