NARROWSBURG – The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (UDSB) Committee recently elected an annual slate of officers to lead the non-profit organization which promotes and protects the outstanding character, heritage, and beauty of New York State Route 97 and its communities, while encouraging economic development through tourism and recreation.
John Pizzolato (Town of Highland) was elected chairperson at the UDSB’s annual meeting held April 27. Rosemarie DeCristofaro (Town of Delaware) was named vice-chair, while Larry H. Richardson (Town of Cochecton) continues his role as secretary-treasurer.
“Rosie” DeCristofaro, a licensed real estate broker in NY and PA who owns Callicoon Real Estate, LLC, and Richardson, who is semi-retired as vice-president of sales and service for the Yaun Company, have each served on the UDSB committee since its 2002 incorporation.
Pizzolato succeeds Glenn Pontier, both as UDSB chairperson and the Highland Town Board’s representative. Pontier joins Debra Conway as Highland’s alternates to the volunteer board on which the nine municipal members appoint voting delegates to work with non-voting members that represent agencies and organizations in the Upper Delaware River Valley.
Since 2012, Pizzolato has co-owned the Stickett Inn, a boutique hotel located along the byway in Barryville, which also produces its own brand of cider. He and husband Roswell Hamrick, a TV/film production and interior designer, purchased the D&H Canal era house in 2010 after Hamrick had bought the circa 1835 Congregational Church and Cemetery property in 1997 to adapt into a residence.
Pizzolato is also director of the public relations and consulting agency, International Playground, and was the lead teaching artist for the Peace. Love. Arts. You. (P.L.A.Y.) youth theater program at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in 2019.
The Rockford, IL native earned a B.F.A. degree in Theatre Arts from Hofstra University.
Pizzolato’s community service extends to his positions on the Greater Barryville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as president of the Barryville Farmers’ Market.
“I am thrilled to step into the role of chairperson of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Committee, especially after the recent honor that has been bestowed on the Delaware River by American Rivers in naming the Delaware as its 2020 River of the Year to celebrate what the environmental advocacy group characterized as the ‘dramatic revitalization from the decades it spent polluted by industrial and sewage waste’,” Pizzolato says.
“Although it is an unprecedented and challenging time – especially for tourism in a county that relies on visitors for its livelihood – we are blessed to have the river for recreation and sanity. We can use this pause from the traditional bevy of tourists to ready the organization, the byway, and the river for its close-up,” he adds.
Pizzolato’s collaborative goals aim to enhance and promote the Route 97 corridor.
“Chiefly, cleaning up the byway from litter and graffiti, promoting all the mom and pop businesses that tourists have come to love in the river towns, and bringing the long-term projects that celebrate the traditional uses of the Delaware River into fruition will be my focus,” he says.
“We have a perfect blend of new energy and those that hold the key to the history of the area as part of our group. We can accomplish great things with support of the local communities, our three counties, and our New York State legislators. I am proud to represent the Town of Highland on the board and thank them for that,” Pizzolato concludes.
The state-designated UDSB route begins in Orange County off I-84 Exit 1 along Rt. 6/East Main Street through the City of Port Jervis to the Town of Deerpark in Orange County, proceeds on Rt. 97 through the five Sullivan County Towns of Lumberland, Highland, Tusten, Cochecton, and Delaware, then resumes through the Village of Hancock to the Rt. 17/I-86 entrance ramp in Delaware County.
Route 97 was extolled as “The Most Scenic Highway in the East” at a public dedication ceremony for the new state highway held on August 30, 1939. A Reader’s Choice Contest conducted by USA TODAY travel experts in 2015 ranked the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway as the #1 Best Autumn Drive in Northeast U.S. and #2 in the entire country.
The UDSB Committee regularly meets on the 4th Mondays of the month in Narrowsburg. For more information, please visit the evolving www.UpperDelawareScenicByway.org website, leave a voice mail at 866-511-UDSB (8372), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of John Pizzolato by Noah Kalina.