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Park gets $5 million for redevelopment   ADVERTISEMENT

Park gets $5 million for redevelopment

WATKINS GLEN—The recipient of a $5 million grant, the Watkins Glen state park has now entered into the design phase of a project to redevelop two of its entrances.
“At this point, the project is in a phase we call the design phase,” Regional Director of Finger Lake State Parks Fred Bonn said. “There have been no formal decisions made about how that entrance off of Franklin Street will work. There are no drawings or renderings to speak of. We will be in the design phase throughout 2014, through the balance of this year.”
While specifics are still being hashed out, the ultimate goals of the project are to improve traffic flow, the appearance of the entryway and the overall experience in the park.
“The issues we are looking to work on most notably is the traffic flow into the park off of Franklin Street,” Bonn said. “We know how backed up that can get. We are also working on how the park presents itself on the main street. So what can we do to make it more aesthetically pleasing.”
Bonn said a parking garage is not part of the plan for accommodating additional traffic. He said they are looking to find different ways to alter the existing parking lots and traffic patterns to make things easier for visitors.
“We will probably look at the parking lot across the street to see what can we do to organize vehicles in there better,” Bonn said. “We might pave it, stripe it, try to squeeze in a couple more vehicles that way.”
Bonn said they have yet to select who will be doing the work to upgrade the park. He said the park needs to divide the $5 million for specific projects, but hopes there will be construction documents to send out to bid by the end of the year. He added there will be a presentation to the public once the designs are complete.
“The other issue is sort of a pedestrian experience when people are in the park,” Bonn said. “What can we do to make that experience better? Maybe clean it up a little bit, try to move people through the park so they can have a better experience. We are also looking at the number of tour buses that come through and how do we handle those effectively and stage them off of Franklin Street so it doesn’t cause congestion, but allow patrons to move on and off safely.”
With more visitors, Bonn said the park’s primary goal is to improve the experience inside the park and manage traffic effectively. That goal includes improving the hiking experience in the park by way of increasing capacity.
“With the parking we have got, we are trying to organize it better,” Bonn said. “We are not going to be adding anything significant in the way of additional parking. The parking on the park side is pretty limited. You [have] got a pretty steep gorge wall there and there is no plan to expand the parking on that side. You just can’t do it.”








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