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Board approves kayak launch

WATKINS GLEN--With only one item on the agenda, the Watkins Glen planning board opened their monthly meeting Wednesday, March 16 witha public hearing to discuss the approval of a kayak launch and walking trail to be located at the southeast corner of Seneca Lake along State Route 414. Chris Bond, a vice president from Hunt Engineers, was present to answer questions about the project, which is being funded by a $500,000 state grant.
Bond said there are four aspects to the project--a walking trail from the launch area to Clute Park, a pedestrian bridge adjacent to the traffic bridge, 21 parking spaces and a safer vehicle entrance/exit to the launch site. He is waiting for Department of Environmental Conservation approval over matters that include the proper identification of wetlands and water elevation. He is confident these issues will meet DEC approval and hopeful that the project will go to bid possibly as soon as April.
Watkins Glen resident Teresa Schimizzi offered her concerns about low water levels and traffic speed going by the launch site. Bond said that although concrete anchors will brace the launch, the launch itself would be a floating system. He also noted there would be temporary access for launching kayaks once construction begins. Superintendent of Public Works Mark Specchio said he has talked to the Department of Transportation about changing the speed limit approaching the launch from 55 to 40 or 45 miles per hour, and at this point they are not receptive to the idea.
With no further public comment, the board voted unanimously to approve the final site plans and consider the project application complete. The board will meet again Wednesday, April 19.

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