West Brook Road at the southern end of Lake George, now a boulevard with two one-way lanes straddling a stream, may be reconfigured before next summer under a plan endorsed by Warren County Supervisors Sept. 27. The county leaders voted to make the southbound lane two way and close off the northern northbound lane to through traffic and reconstruct it as a parking lot.
Before next summer, as many as 110 to 184 more parking spaces may be constructed along West Brook Road, a park-like boulevard with separated, landscaped one-way lanes that straddle West Brook at the southern end of the lake.
According to a concept endorsed Tuesday Sept. 27 by Warren County Supervisors, the northbound lane would be closed off to through traffic and converted to a municipal parking lot to add 55 metered parking spaces. A second option is similar, but calls for widening the parking area on the lane by 18 feet into the north parcel of the West Brook Environmental park to double the additional parking spaces.
Under both proposals, the existing southbound lane of West Brook Road would be converted to two-way.
Presently there is free parallel parking along some stretches of the two one-way lanes.
Tuesday’s unanimous vote of the county Public Works Committee is subject to a vote by the full county Board of Supervisors in mid-October. The proposal is also contingent upon a legal review of land ownership and easements.
County supervisors have been seeking to raise revenue to offset maintenance costs of West Brook Environmental Park, which is to include constructed wetlands, walkways and some natural recreational features as well as a 2.5-acre festival area operated by the county government.
They also aim to add parking for those attending events on the festival grounds, the former site of the amusement park Gaslight Village.
County Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson estimated that adding 55 spaces would cost $30,000 to construct, and the kiosk-type meters for the spaces would cost $50,000. He estimated the spaces would generate $50,000 annually in revenue — based on Lake George Village’s experience with metered parking — so the construction costs would be recovered in less than two years.
The second option, which would create 110 or so parking spaces, would cost $210,000 or so, but would likely double the annual revenue.
Some supervisors suggested the county proceed with the first option, and develop the extra spaces in the years to come when money could be budgeted for it.
But Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe responded that the county should borrow the money to build the extra spaces soon, and the parking revenue would more than cover the loan payments. Waiting to develop parking, he said, would mean lost revenue in the meantime.
The county plans for parking apparently conflict with the town of Lake George's objective of developing paid parking along West Brook Road. They have already passed a resolution to designate parking spaces and install meters.
They own 75 percent of the northbound lane and all of the southbound lane, so they’d theoretically be be receiving the money from parking on their lands.
The county proposals are contingent on a legal review of whether the town and village governments are entitled to the revenue, rather than the county.
The county supervisors said they were unwilling to spend money on developing paid parking unless the county government would receive the revenue.
Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy said that his first priority was looking out after the interests of his town taxpayers.
He said he is looking forward to cooperating with the county on the parking issue, but not at the expense of his constituents.