Feb 17, 2015 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The proposed engineering design for a new lake access area at McNitt State Park was received with unanimous enthusiasm from the Cazenovia Town Board last week, and will now be sent to officials at the state parks office for final approval.
The plan — which includes a permanent dock, a canoe/kayak service slide, a four-foot-wide boardwalk from the parking area, stone block steps and stone-dust pathway — would make the area more user-friendly, handicapped accessible and environmentally sound, according to town engineer John Dunkle, who presented the plan to the board at its Feb. 9 regular meeting.
McNitt State Park, located about 0.3 miles north of Chard Road along East Lake Road, consists of 133 acres of land, including about 1,300 feet of shoreline along Cazenovia Lake, donated in 1999 by Helen L. McNitt for public use and enjoyment. In 2008, a small parking area was built off East Lake Road along with a rough path to the lakeshore. There is no launch; canoes, kayaks and small portable rowboats must be lowered down over a small, undeveloped bank to be placed in the lake.
Plans to improve the lake access and build another parking area to access the upper woodland area of the property were put on hold by New York State due to a lack of funding.
The Cazenovia Town Board investigated ways to put the process back on track, and in June 2014 authorized engineering work by Dunn & Sgromo PLLC to improve access from the parking lot of McNitt State Park to Cazenovia Lake at a cost not to exceed $9,500. The town is only paying for the engineering plans, while the state will pay for the actual construction costs associated with the work, Town Supervisor Bill Zupan said at the time, and reiterated at the board’s Feb. 9 meeting.
“This also opens up a dialogue to pen a town park on the other side of the road,” Zupan said. “That’s an exciting possibility.”
According to Dunkle, the proposed engineering plans include a new trail and boardwalk from the parking area at an 8 percent grade — to allow for handicapped accessibility — down to a 10-by-20 foot permanent, fixed dock for canoes and kayaks. There will also be a natural, stone stairway from the dust pathway to the dock, as well as a canoe/kayak service slide.
The current access trail from the parking lot is meant to be pedestrian only and was blocked to vehicles by the presence of large boulders. Those boulders have been moved and people have been driving vehicles down to the shore, Dunkle said. The plan would include the replacement of those boulders to again restrict vehicle access to the site, he said.
State park officials have already seen the proposed engineering plan, and are “eager” to hear from the town board about its opinion of the plans and “do what is best for the community,” Dunkle said. He said the state has slated funding for this project for 2015.
All of the board members expressed approval of the plans, with particular praise for its aesthetic value, its efforts to once again restrict vehicle access to the site and its protection of the land by preventing erosion that could occur from lake entry without stairs, paths or a dock. The board advised Dunkle to share their approval with the state.
Also at the meeting, the board:
—Authorized the supervisor to commit to participation in the Solarize CNY campaign offered by the CNY Regional Planning and Development Board.
—Authorized the sale and purchase of multiple pickup trucks and one skid steer loader for the town as part of the town highway department’s ongoing vehicle maintenance program.
—Continued until March the public hearings on proposed laws for a town noise ordinance and town special events law.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.