I can’t believe I haven’t written yet about one of the MOST IMPORTANT and one of the BIGGEST lake-friendly lake-saving projects EVER in the history of Lake George.
I am way overdue to tell you about the super exciting, brand new, environmental park under construction at the old Gaslight Village site at the southern end of Lake George.
By 2015, this new park will provide a grand educational, recreational, and event space for children of all ages, right in the heart of Lake George Village. It will also treat millions of gallons of previously untreated stormwater coming off of Rt. 9 – helping to reduce loads of nutrients, salts, and other contaminants from entering the Lake and degrading water quality.
In years past, efforts have been concentrated on clearing the land (the old and tired buildings from Gaslight Village needed to be removed), acquiring permits, conducting studies, writing grants, and securing funding for the purchase of the land and the conservation easements. This fundraising continues to this day.
Next the infrastructure and grading for the stormwater treatment train on the parcel south of West Brook needed to be constructed. Land was graded and manmade wetlands and ponds were built.
Meanwhile, conceptual plans for the recreational and education elements of the environmental park were created by Elan Planning and Design, with lots of public input. A children’s adventure play area, a main park building with restrooms, a skateboard park, and several other features were all included in master plan.
This past October, over 20,000 native plants, shrubs, and trees were installed on the south parcel, officially completing the construction of the stormwater treatment train part of the project.
Requiring minimal maintenance, pruning or fertilizing, these plants were selected because they excel in filtering stormwater and uptaking nutrients. The treatment train will be officially “turned on” next spring, once the plants become more fully established.
So what else is happening?
Funding is in place for most of the construction needed for the north parcel: the park building (housing the restrooms), the Children’s Adventure Play Area, the skateboard park (90% funded), the walkways and interpretative signage, and an at-grade crossing over West Brook.
Funding is also in place for the walkways and interpretative signage on the south parcel (location of the storm water treatment train).
What’s happening next? Just 5 more steps!
1. In just a couple weeks, Elan Planning and Design expects to receive word on grants that could complete the funding needed for several park elements. (And the project partners are all anxiously awaiting the outcome.) Elements to be potentially funded through these grants are:
a. completion of the skateboard park;
c. park entrance at Beach Road; and
d. signage as well as sidewalks along West Brook Rd.
2. The elevated walkway and bridge over West Brook, connected to a fire tower, the Rt. 9 entrance, and the water feature are all still part of the master plan. Elan and the project partners are continuing to look for funding sources for them. If funding is found prior to construction, they could be included in this upcoming phase of construction. Otherwise, they will be built at a later time.
3. Elan Planning and Design is preparing all the necessary construction documents. At this time Elan is completing the construction documents for funded elements (Item 1). Once the grant award announcement is made, the park management committee will decide which additional elements Elan will complete construction documents for, and those will be completed over the winter.
4. Contractors will bid next summer, and construction will start shortly thereafter.
5. Construction is slated for completion in the summer of 2015.