Welcome to The Town of Olive!

Nestled in the Catskill Mountains of New York State is 40,000 acres named the Town of Olive. In 1824, theory has it that it was so named from the biblical story of the dove returning to Noah’s ark with an Olive branch. The Ashokan Reservoir geographically divides Olive–north and south. The hamlets around the shoreline are Boiceville, Olivebridge, Samsonville, Krumville, Shokan, West Shokan, and Ashokan.

The passing of the Water Act of 1905 led to the building of the handmade Ashokan Dam on the Esopus Creek and upon its completion in 1916 created the Ashokan Reservoir, a main water supply for the City of New York-Olive’s largest landowner. The demand for pure, clean drinking water for New York City inhabitants changed the course of history for the Town of Olive and still has an impact on everyday life. The Town center and the majority of the Town’s residents were forced from the rich Esopus Valley and relocated to the nearby foothills. In May of 1997 Land Use Regulations, which could become a model for the rest of the country, became effective as a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Watershed Towns and the City of New York to provide for protection of water quality throughout the New York City Watershed.

Traveling west on State Route 28, Olive is thirty minutes from Kingston, New York—the first capitol of New York State-and is a little more than an hour travel time to the current state capitol of Albany. Being only two hours north of New York City and totally within the Catskill State Park, Olive has been a seasonal recreational area for New Yorkers. The boarding house days and hunting camps of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s have vanished and are now seasonal second homes or primary residences for many city folk.

The major industries of timber harvesting, tanneries, and excelsior mills, which once ravaged the mountains of Olive, have long vanished as the Catskill Forest Preserve was created in 1885 keeping forever the preserve as wild forest lands. The Catskills have been a favorite tourist destination for over 100 years. Today’s Olive is primarily residential in nature, with a large percentage of seasonal residents, and a limited number of backyard farms with victory gardens.

Update on Broadband in New York State

Jim Sofranko, Town Board Member & Chair of the Olive Cable Franchise Negotiating Committee  provided the following update.


There is a vast amount of talk being floated around at the state level regarding broadband build-out money for rural NYS. The most significant amount is the $500 million the governor earmarked for rural broadband build-out after the Wall Street settlement a few years ago. However, as you can imagine when a vast amount of money is being offered at the state level there are many hands out looking for funding. We are competing with areas that have no cable at all in their towns, no cellular service for vast stretches (as cell service qualifies as broadband), and higher density areas of population where the build-out will yield more service to more people for less money. In addition, the state plan is not at all clear as to the priorities or methods of the money distribution.

The Town of Olive Cable Franchise Committee has been in franchise contract negotiations with Time Warner, now Spectrum/Charter since 2014. Buildout is the number one priority in this negotiation determined by the survey we completed in 2014 to best ascertain of the needs of our community. The contract Spectrum/Charter has offered us is far worse in many ways than the existing, expired, contract we currently have with them. By law our expired contract will remain in effect until we have settled a new one. As you may know, the Time Warner/Charter merger resulted in a change in management resulting in the retirement of the person with whom we have been negotiating for two years. This merger and management change has set back our talks considerably.

We are currently working with the Ulster County Office of Economic Development (UCOED) in gathering existing and aggregating franchise contracts from surrounding Ulster County communities to compare what other town have in their contracts. There are definitely some towns that have provisions for build-out in their contracts and we will be trying to leverage these contracts in our negotiations. In addition, the UCOED will be helping us in negotiating for buil-dout during our contract talks. They may have some influence as to the NYS broadband money and where it is directed.

Once we have that information, we will be meeting with the new Spectrum/Charter representative to make our case for broadband build-out in the Town of Olive.



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