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.

Olive Offices Rehabilitation Project

After Hurricane Irene the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery through a Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) initiated the New York Rising Communities project.  Then Supervisor Berndt Leifeld appointed the 3 required members to that Town Committee–Ed Kahil, Mario Occhi, and myself.  This all began in August of 2013.  We are now at the point where one of the projects is coming to fruition.

During these months of meetings several Town projects that fit the criteria of the program were identified.   Besides the Esopus Creek inundation problem in Boiceville and the Bushkill Stream erosion problem in West Shokan, the Town Office Building in West Shokan was on the list.  At that time, this building was located in a flood zone and earmarked through the program for replacement and relocation.  However, several months later new FEMA flood maps were produced which mapped the Town Offices out of the floodplain.  These new flood maps were adopted.  This remapping made the Town Offices no longer eligible for relocation, but, did allow for mitigation efforts which would make the Town Offices and Highway Garage more resilient during disasters.  An engineer was hired and paid for through the CDBG-DR program.  After engineering analysis and design, the final Town of Olive Facilities Rehabilitation Program application was approved by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery in late 2016.   Bids for both electrical and general contracting work were received and awarded in August of 2016.   Work began on the project in October 2017.

The following are a few of the items to be addressed

–Redesign and replacement of Town Offices Building Roof

–Installation of a 100 kw generator for Town Offices and Highway Garages

–Electrical power panel consolidation of outdated sub and primary power distribution points in the  Town Offices and Highway Garage.  In Town Offices four (4) distribution panels will be replaced with one (1) and in the Highway Garage three (3) distribution panels will be replaced with one (1).

–Facade work will be done on the Town Offices front wall and entrances with covered walkway installed

–ADA (American Disability Act) compliant entrance will be installed at the rear of the Town Offices

Page 5 of the Engineering Design Plans is a sketch of the proposed exterior alterations to the Town Office Building in West Shokan and can be viewed at the following link.

Town of Olive Offices Rehabilitation Engineer Drawing





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