Beard Pond in Fayetteville is open to skating only at residents' own risk. (photo by Lauren Young)
Winter has hit Central New York, and with it comes the season for ice skating — Fayetteville residents, however, will be skating on Beard Pond at their own risk for the foreseeable future.
Village officials are still working to develop a new policy as to how the village Department of Works can maintain the ice on the pond in a safe and effective manner that conforms to state safety requirements and protects the village from legal liability. Until then, the village will not be plowing the snow off the ice to allow for public use.
This does not mean that the public is barred from skating on the pond, it just means that residents must remove the snow on the ice themselves and skate at their own risk.
This circumstance is the result of an incident this past January when a village DPW tractor fell through two-and-a-half feet of ice, despite inspection of the ice prior to plowing. After that, the village posted “No Ice Skating on Beard Pond” signs in Beard Park and announced that any use of the ice on the pond was “solely at the risk of the individual.”
Village DPW Superintendent Patrick Massett told the board at its Nov. 26 meeting that he is still formulating the village policy, but it is more complicated than it sounds. First, they must determine how thick the ice should be in order to allow snow plowing on the pond — he said they were considering four or six inches thick — but ice has different thicknesses at different parts of the pond depending on things like plant and fish life, which can lessen ice thickness if they are huddled together in one spot.
“This [need for new regulations] changes everything we used to do,” Massett said.
Trustee Dan Kinsella lamented the fact that this mandate for governmental regulation and oversight has lost the village the “ability to control a great asset,” stating that for generations residents would simply skate on the pond without worrying about state safety mandates and legal liability.
All the board members agreed that the public can still use the pond for skating or ice hockey, but they must clear the snow and use the pond at their own risk. The board also briefly discussed the possibility — only if it became necessary — of the village creating an ice rink on a flat surface in the park.
Also at the meeting, the board took the next governmental step in using its “Safe Routes to School” grant money by declaring itself the lead agency for the upcoming project. The board also reminded residents that a public information meeting on the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 in the village hall.
Earlier this year, the Village of Fayetteville was awarded a $775,000 “Safe Routes to School” grant by the state Department of Transportation to replace existing sidewalks in several areas of the village, from Redfield Avenue to Pine Ridge Road, with ones that are handicap accessible. According to the state DOT website, the grant enables children, including those with disabilities, to make walking and bicycling to school safe and more appealing.
The project’s preliminary design will extend through early April 2019, with construction beginning that summer during non-school periods.
Mayor Mark Olson also reminded residents that the village is seeking residents interested in joining the committee to plan the village’s 175th birthday celebration in May 2019. Anyone interested should contact the village by going to village hall at 425 E Genesee St, Fayetteville, or calling 315-637-9864.
The next village board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 in village hall.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.
Dec 07, 2018
Dec 07, 2018
Dec 07, 2018