“I’ve been living around here all my life,” said Alfie Higley, “and I’m very involved in community issues. A lot of things need to be done in this town, and I feel past administrations couldn’t handle the main issues. I’m good at dealing with people, solving problems, and getting things done.”
For 17 years, Higley grew organic produce and sold it in New York City to top restaurants and at farmers’ markets. “After 9/11, I started changing my attitude about what I wanted to do,” he said. “One year we had a bunch of extra stuff, and my dad and I decided to open a stand up here, and it took off.” For the past nine years, the Higleys have run Hanover Farms, the farmstand on Route 28 in Mount Tremper.
“Dredging is the number one issue right now,” stated Higley. “Every stream in this valley needs to be dredged. It’s a major operation, and we have to put pressure on the politicians — Hein, the governor, senators, congressmen. We need contact with them as a community, and we have to show up at meetings. They’ll talk about it, but it will go away unless we put pressure on them to get funding and get it done.”
He feels Phoenicia needs a sewer system. “The last deal on the table that was voted down was not a good deal for the town. The city should put it in, pay for it, and run it, like they did with Pine Hill. And we should have a guarantee that if another flood comes through, we won’t be cleaning human waste off the streets. Businesses objected that there was no cap on the costs for them — they need to know how much they will be spending. I believe we can get this done. I’m in favor of the Pine Hill sewer extension, to put 15 more houses on the system, which won’t cost us a dime.”
Regarding the re-zoning controversy prompted by allegations that his own business violated zoning regulations, Higley commented, “I’m not for re-zoning, but the town needs to get something done with regard to farmstands. In Mount Tremper, the business district runs down Route 212, which was underwater in the flood. That’s our business district? I’m for bringing more businesses into Shandaken and changing the farmstand regulations within the zoning law.”
He feels the town needs to capitalize on its assets as a tourist destination and favors supporting the railroad, developing biking trails, and expanding the Festival of the Voice. He is currently at work on his own project for attracting more people to the area, although he declined to describe it at this time.
“I’m concerned about the library because it’s in the floodplain,” said Higley. Although board members are adamant about rebuilding the burned-out structure on Main Street, he says the location makes it ineligible for funding by the O’Connor Foundation, which donates to library construction. He thinks they should reconsider and renovate their temporary location across from the post office. He favors the proposed increase in the library budget.
Higley expressed his objection to candidate Peter DiSclafani’s campaign signs. “Why does he have ‘re-elect’ written on his sign if he’s not an incumbent? He’s already lying on his signs.”
Higley also mentioned his hobbies, flying airplanes and playing chess.