In a three-to-two vote, Lysander officials approved seeking Community Development Funds for a small-craft boat launch, which would also include a handicap fishing access, located along Lock Street in the village of Baldwinsville.
Community Development Funds are grants made available through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for distribution by the county to local municipalities for local improvement projects. Should the grant be approved, the town would receive 75 percent of the total project cost, estimated at $40,000, leaving the town responsible for the remaining 25 percent ($10,000), which can be paid for through in-kind services, fundraising and taxation.
During the March 22 public hearing, village officials said they were in favor of the project and Mayor Joseph Saraceni told the Lysander board the village would be willing to cover 100 percent of the local share. At the April 12 Lysander board meeting, the board approved seeking the grant on the condition that the village funds the town's 25 percent share. Councilor Brian May, who was in favor of seeking the funds, said while the project is non-essential and expensive, the boat launch has the potential to draw tourists and become an economic developer.
Councilors Art Levy and Ed Reed voted against seeking the funds.
"I think both [projects] are spending money for the sake of spending money," Reed said.
Should the grant be approved, the small-craft boat launch would coincide with a New York State Canal Corporation venture promoting canoeing and kayaking along the canal, which will be announced next month. Carmella Mantello, director of the NYSCC, plans to develop a Uniform Coordinated Water Trail for unmotorized boats along the 524-mile stretch of the canal. The initiative includes identifying more than 100 public access points along the canal where small boaters can launch their canoes and kayaks.
"We are seeing more canoeing and kayaking, with people looking for more inexpensive things to do," Mantello said. "People are fishing more and small boats are becoming more popular."