Local officials cut the ribbon on the new kayak launch at Community Park. From left to right, Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes, Lysander Supervisor Joe Saraceni, Assemblyman Will Barclay, Baldwinsville Mayor Dick Clarke and County Legislator Brian May. (Photo by Ashley M. Casey)
Cool-weather kayakers have one more place to paddle in B’ville through the next month or so. The kayak launch at Community Park is officially open.
Assemblyman Will Barclay and other area officials gathered at the park Oct. 6 to cut the ribbon on the kayak launch, which, like its counterpart at Mercer Park, is open to the public and is designed to allow wheelchair users to launch and land their kayaks easily.
Funds from the New York State Canal Corporation, the Onondaga County Legislature and Barclay’s office made the Community Park installation possible.
“We’re always happy to get some sort of state funding for projects [like this]. Quality of life is a big part of what we have here in Central New York,” Barclay said.
The kayak launches at Community Park and Mercer Park are part of the greater Baldwinsville area’s efforts to maximize the potential of its waterways.
“I think Baldwinsville’s been doing very well in trying to improve their waterfront,” Barclay said. “Decades ago, we never paid attention to the waterfront.”
That newfound attention will pay off, Barclay said, in the form of tourism. At the Mercer Park kayak launch ribbon cutting back in August, Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said tourists generate $400 million in spending along the canal.
“We struggle with economic development here in Central New York, but anyone who lives here recognizes that we have wonderful natural resources,” Barclay said. “Anything we can do to advance that is great.”
Village Engineer Steve Darcangelo said the Community Park kayak launch is the latest of several village projects, including modifications to the village square and improvements to the trail that leads from Meadow Street into Community Park.
Darcangelo said Community Park is often known as “Lions Park” because the Baldwinsville Lions Club revamped the area and installed the clubhouse and other features.
“This was a dump for trash. Many years ago, the Lions took on the responsibility for getting it cleaned up,” said Bert Mead, a member of the Lions Club. “It’s one of our projects to work on park improvements and encourage use of the park. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the area.”
“The secret is getting out,” Darcangelo added.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.