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Town of Lewiston looking for public input on proposed Lower River Road park project

Fri, Jan 31st 2020 03:55 pm

Broderick to meet with NYSERDA rep on solar moratorium

By Michael DePietro

This past Tuesday, Town of Lewiston officials held a public information meeting regarding the proposed Lower River Road Town Park. After a brief summary of the conceptual plan, residents were encouraged to share design and amenity ideas for the park.

Last year, the town secured $700,000 in Greenway funding to develop a stretch of property on Lower River Road located near the Stella Nature preserve. Supervisor Steve Broderick said he believes the figure is enough to begin the first phase for what he hopes will become a “premier park” in the area.

In his call for resident input, Broderick described the park as a “blank canvas” and noted the simple design concepts on display were merely meant to give a rough idea of what officials are thinking. Still, he stressed the intent is to keep the park relatively simple. Apart from a few pavilions and picnic tables, the most noteworthy addition would be the addition of a new dock and kayak launch.

 “We’re not going to be putting a rollercoaster down there; we’re not putting a Ferris wheel; we’re not doing anything down here that’s too much,” Broderick said. “Basically the only thing we want to do down here is we want a dawn-to-dusk park.”

Although Broderick said the intent is to close the park during the winter, after the meeting, Councilman William Geiben said he wants to see some access available in the winter, noting he would like to see the nearby hill available for sledding.

Broderick went on to commend Geiben as well as Building Inspector Tim Masters for their work in seeing the park come to fruition after nearly four years of planning and procedural matters. Last month, the town was approved to become lead agent on the development once a State Environmental Quality Review determined the project would not pose significant adverse environmental impacts.

The announcement came following lengthy rounds of sample testing conducted by the town’s engineering group, GHD Consulting Services. An initial characterization report released by the firm in March of last year was met by criticism because a report conducted in the 1970s by Krehbeil Associates Inc. showed a more significant arsenic footprint than had been noted in the GHD study. That presence was attributed to past dumping activities.

Additional testing was subsequently ordered for the area. Final results indicated the project could safely continue. Broderick said the contaminated area would be sealed and covered by a concrete slab with a park pavilion positioned on top.

Public response to the plans seemed mostly positive, with many just happy to see development happening on a property commonly viewed as merely “overgrown grass.” One resident said he wanted to see the project move “as fast as possible,” noting he had full faith and confidence in Parks Supervisor Michael Dashineau to help get the project off the ground.

Others voiced some concerns on the project. Paulette Glasgow took issue with some of the cost estimates, noting she had found certain park amenities at a lower cost than what was listed in the proposal. Later, Broderick said those figures were merely high-end estimates.

Resident Chuck Deering, who admitted he is in favor of the development as a whole, said he is concerned about the proposed parking situation. Per the proposal, only handicap spaces were located nearby.

His concerns were echoed by others in attendance who noted the lengthy distance it would take to get kayaks from the parking lot down to the water.

Resident Amy Witryol stated she would like to hear more public input on the project moving forward, noting Tuesday’s meeting was not a formal public hearing. When Broderick said he was pretty impressed by the turnout, Witryol noted that perhaps as many as half of the attendees were town employees.

Broderick said the town would hold another public meeting on the plan based on public input and meetings with the Parks Department once the design is finalized.

In the end, Broderick reiterated nothing is set in stone and the park could be developed in phases over time. He noted that, in addition to the $700,000 received, the town gets $510,000 in Greenway funding every year, which could be used for add-ons.

When asked about a timetable for completion, Broderick said he “hopes to see shovels by May,” but couldn’t say for sure until the plan is finalized and the proper meetings have been held.

Residents are encouraged to reach out to the supervisor’s office by email ([email protected]) with any comments, concerns or suggestions regarding the park plan. A PDF of the conceptual plan is available on The Sentinel website, www.wnypapers.com.

Town Board Meeting

Tuesday’s public information meeting wasn’t the only activity involving the Lewiston Town Board this week. The board met for a relatively light meeting on Monday, wherein a few announcements were made amongst procedural matters.

•The board passed a resolution at the behest of the Lake Ontario Preparedness Group to rescind the International Joint Commission Plan 2014. The IJC enacted this plan to protect shoreline property and coastal wetlands from adverse water levels. Nevertheless, high water levels did occur in 2017 and 2019 and, although the town was not affected, the IJC plan was cited by local elected leaders as a factor in millions of dollars of damage to shoreline communities.

•Broderick said he’s scheduled to meet with a representative from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to go over the recently implemented moratorium regarding the town’s solar law.

•The board voted on two re-appointments. Drescher & Malecki LLP will continue on as town auditors, while Les Myers was reappointed fire prevention chair.

•Finally, Town Historian Marjorie Maggard once again put out a call looking for town residents interested in joining the Historical Preservation Committee. Interested parties are asked to contact Town Clerk Donna Garfinkel at 716-754-8213, ext. 222 or 256, for an application.

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