Clute Park redevelopment has critics
WATKINS GLEN--Village officials and developers from the design and engineering company Stantec held a public information session on the $4.5 million redevelopment of Clute Park Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Watkins Glen Community Center.
"Clute Park redevelopment came out of the (state Downtown Revitalization Initiative)... that the state of New York has awarded to the village... it's a great investment to our community," said Laurie Denardo, village trustee and co-chair of the local planning committee for the DRI.
Denardo added that the look of the park and the amenities added were all part of an extensive public input process.
"We had a lot of public input about what we want the park to look like not just now but 30 years from now... and how we are going to pay for it which is a strong concern for the trustees of the board... I'm really proud of the number of people who came out, and the concept that came from that," Denardo said.
The public information session was coordinated by Travis Ewen, Michael Joyce and Andrew Petrosky of Stantec who discussed the new buildings, the ice rink, splash pad, pavilion and more.
"It's a very exciting project, there was interest throughout the company to work on it," said Project Manager Petrosky.
After Petrosky spoke, Joyce went on to say the project is not just about Clute Park but how it fits into Watkins Glen and the regional area of the Finger Lakes as a whole. During the presentation the funding of the project was detailed, showing nearly $2,000,000 coming from two separate local waterfront revitalization program grants, $400,000 from the state parks department and roughly $2,000,000 from the DRI.
Despite being paid for in whole, many of the some 50 residents in attendance voiced concerns about the changes to the park. Some residents worried about impacting birds, the view and the trees while others worried about functionality and how the village would pay for the continuous upkeep of the hockey rink. Other residents wanted to look into either tearing down the current pavilion or renovating it instead of building a new one and keeping the old one at the same time.
For the hockey rink, which will be converted into a basketball court during summers, many residents expressed dismay at the cost of running a rink and wondered who in the village wanted a rink to begin with.
"As many people are passionate against the rink there are as many people passionate for it," Petrosky said.
He added that the rink was key to making the park functional year round and was paramount for securing the grant money needed to redo the park.
According to the slide show shown during the presentation, design work will last through late-January with construction not expected to begin until May of next year.
County legislative candidate Paul Bartow spoke during the comment session of the meeting and said the important thing to remember is that if amenities are built that people enjoy, regional residents will come to use them. Many people in attendance did not agree with his comment.