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Local officials consider ways to best capitalize on Lake Ontario waterfront

Photos by Tom Rivers: Ellen Parker, a planner with Wendel, discusses a waterfront plan for the towns of Carlton, Yates and Kendall. The three towns are working to update a plan from 1998. About 40 community members met on Wednesday evening at the Carlton Rec Hall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 April 2018 at 11:00 am

Revised plan also looks at Lyndonville’s big pond, dam

Orleans County legislator Ken DeRoller of Kendall has been a proponent of the waterfront development plans. In addition to the plan for the three towns along Lake Ontario, the county will soon be working on a waterfront development plan for the canal communities. The Village of Medina is also doing a waterfront development plan.

CARLTON – Local officials want to improve fishing and recreational access along Lake Ontario and its tributaries.

That was one strong theme in a discussion about an update of a waterfront development plan for the towns of Kendall, Carlton and Yates. The three towns adopted a plan in 1998, and now they are making updates, which this time will include Patterson Pond and the dam at Lyndonville.

The three towns have 24 miles of shoreline. Once the plan is updated and adopted, likely next year, it will put the three towns and the Village of Lyndonville in a better position for state grants for projects, said Ellen Parker, a planner with Wendel, a firm hired as a consultant on the project.

The state provided the Orleans County with a $40,000 grant to revise the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Fishing is the county’s top tourism draw, netting about $9 million in economic activity a year. There may be opportunities to grow that by increasing fishing access along tributaries, including Johnson Creek in Lyndonville. Residents also suggested a boat launch between Golden Hill State Park in Barker and Point Breeze. Officials may want to consider a launch at the Yates Town Park on Morrison Road, which is between Golden Hill and Point Breeze.

Tony Cammarata, the Kendall town supervisor, also wants the plan to focus on publicly owned land that could be used to boost recreational activities. Not only is there the Lake Ontario State Parkway, which runs about 12 miles in Orleans, but there are other pockets of public land sitting vacant.

Wendy Salvati points to the Johnson Creek area in Lyndonville during a discussion about waterfront assets in the area.

Wendy Salvati, a consultant on the plan, cited the example on the land at the Shadigee in Yates. It’s right by the lake, but it’s just a grassy spot. She said adding benches and picnic tables would be a simple way to make the site better used by the public.

“This is a community-driven project,” she told about 40 people at the meeting in Carlton. “This is about your communities and how this works for you.”

Tony Cammarata, the Kendall town supervisor, would like the plan to focus on making publicly owned land by the lake more accessible to residents.

Officials from the three towns, and Lyndonville are working with consultants on the project and the county’s Department of Planning and Development. They have visited numerous sites in the three towns, making an inventory of assets.

Lyndonville wasn’t in the 1998 plan, but will be in the new one. Wes Bradley, a Yates town councilman, said the community wants to make better use of Patterson Pond and the dam. He would like the pond to be dredged and then promoted for use by kayakers, paddle boats and canoeists. There should be docks put in.

“If it was clear and open, there would be a lot of recreational use,” he said. “It would make this area a destination.”

For many years, there was a false understanding that the pond was owned by the village, Bradley said. It’s actually owned by the school district. That was determined two years ago, he said.

He would still like to see the other local government leaders work to have the pond dredged. The village owns the dam and that area needs a lot of work to improve the structural integrity and access for fishermen.

Jim Bensley (right), the county’s director of the Department of Planning and Development, discusses the waterfront in Orleans with John Riggi, a Yates town councilman.

Carlton Town Councilman Dana Woolston suggested have public bathrooms and a place for fishermen to eat on Park Avenue Extension near the Oak Orchard River and Waterport Dam. That area is very popular in the fall for salmon fishing. However, there aren’t many amenities there for the visiting anglers.

Frank Panczyszyn, a member of the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association, would like to see a bridge put back in at The Bridges and he would like to see the small span be a covered bridge. That would be a tourist draw and also serve a useful purpose, he said.

Jim Shoemaker, a former Carlton town councilman, said the best ideas and plans may all be for naught due to flooding along the lake from high water levels. Many marinas, boat launches and businesses didn’t open or had to curtail their operations due to the flooding last year. The lake is up again this year.

“If high water happens again this year then we have an out-of-control situation,” he said.

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