Progressing on a project that has been pending for nearly a decade, Lake George Village officials awarded five bids May 2 to develop the former Gaslight Village property into an environmental park and festival area. Named for the late Charles R. Wood, a local philanthropist and the godfather of theme parks worldwide, the park is envisioned to be a natural gateway into the Adirondacks that will provide a renewing, relaxing experience for generations of residents and visitors. The park is to include nature walkways and overlooks, fitness trails, water features a children’s adventure area and a skateboard park.
The effort to develop an environmental park in Lake George Village moved forward this week as the village board voted to approve bids totaling $1.7 million in construction work.
Approved May 2 were bids for the site work and landscaping, as well as construction of trails, ecological parking areas, water features and pedestrian bridges — and a park headquarters with rest rooms.
The Charles Wood Park, envisioned to be a natural gateway to the Adirondacks, is situated at the southern end of the lake, off Canada St. just south of Fort William Henry. The northern half of the park — nearly 17 acres total — features a 2.5-acre festival area with a portable stage along with a children’s play area with an interactive fountain and a skateboard park. The southern half, just south of West Brook Road, hosts nature trails and scenic overlooks as well as wetlands constructed to purify stormwater.
Site work, which includes constructing a parking area with reinforcement underneath grass turf, was awarded to Cutting Edge Group of Lake George, for $1.01 million — the lowest among eight bids.
The construction of the park building was awarded to Riverview Construction of Rexford NY for $526,800 — also the lowest among eight bids.
Both the plumbing for the park building and its heating and air conditioning were awarded to Phoenix Group for a combined sum of $115,385. Kasselman Electric of Albany was awarded the electrical work for $39,895.
Village Mayor Robert Blais said the bids came in about $400,000 less than estimated, so leftover grant funds could likely be reallocated towards water features and signage for the festival space, decreasing the amount shouldered locally.
The construction bids were awarded subject to review by the state Department of Transportation and Department of State.
The village is to advertise for bids for construction of the skate park in several weeks.
Blais said he was hopeful that all phases of park construction would be completed by May 2015.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” he said.
Pollution detective work planned
Describing another initiative, Lake George Village Public Works Superintendent Dave Harrington said village employees were working with the Lake George Waterkeeper and others to launch an 18-month-long program of sampling groundwater in the lake’s watershed near West Brook.
The Waterkeeper has pledged $2,000 to launch the project, and the village will be contributing $1,000. The project is to measure water purity so the impact of current and upcoming improvements to the village’s sewage treatment plant can be assessed. A total of $2.2 million has been spent already on boosting the plant’s treatment efficiency, and $2.3 million of further improvements have been proposed. The work was undertaken to satisfy demands of state environmental officials to decrease nitrates in the plant’s effluent.
Blais predicted that the sampling might indicate that the pollution was not primarily from the sewage plant, but it was emanating from former municipal landfills. These trash dumps were in the vicinity of the local bowing alley and the town garage but were bulldozed and were developed for other purposes many decades ago.
Streetscape project delays cost village $100,000
At the May 2 meeting, Harrington told the board that the state Department of State rejected the village’s request to extend the time frame of a grant which was to fund streetscape improvements along the east side of Canada St. from Amherst St. north to Marine Village motel.
The village has already borrowed $100,000 to fund the $120,000 project, which now apparently won’t be reimbursed by the state. Harrington said the town would be shouldering the entire $120,000 for the project, which calls for new sidewalks, brick pavers, and new curbs to match the prior upgrades downtown. Work on this project is to begin this fall.
Lake to be dredged soon
The board endorsed a project to dredge sand and sludge out of Lake George near Shepard Park beach and in the vicinity of the Warren County Sheriff’s dock behind the village Visitors Center. Harrington said that stormwater flowing into the lake brought the sand and solids creating deltas in the lake that were so large that cruise boats were now touching bottom as they pull into their docks.
Harrington said the state Department of Environmental Conservation has approved the dredging plans, and the work is likely to begin this week. Curtains are to be set up in the lake to contain sand stirred up by excavation work.
The cost of the excavation work is to be split with the Lake George Association, which has pledged $3,000 toward the project, Mayor Robert Blais said.
In other business, the board scheduled two public hearings for 6 p.m. May 19 — one for abandonment of Parrot St., a short venue off Ottawa St., and another on proposed amendments to the village zoning laws, primarily regarding land classifications permitting six-story buildings.