Written by Linda Rowe
posted on October 13, 2015 12:30
Think of the places you have been where you enjoyed a well-built park pavilion with restrooms. Burlington, Vermont comes to mind, as well as Clayton, New York. Those places planned for and extended hospitality to my family and me. Cape Vincent has an opportunity to extend that same kind of hospitality to those who live here and to those who visit, through the park pavilion proposed at the village’s east end.
The Community Development Committee (CDC), a committee of appointed representatives of the Town, Village, Chamber of Commerce and CV Improvement League, wants to share the vision with area residents. Current Committee Chair, Ed Bender, and long-time member, Glen Kennedy, supplied a wealth of information for this article.
The original dream started out as part of the 1987 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). By 1994, the dream became a concept for a visitors’ welcome center. By 2012, the dream “morphed” into a concept for a park pavilion. The concept was initiated as a CV Lions Club community project that then was taken to the village board, which voted by resolution to support the concept. They committed funds and in-kind services to help. Lions Club representatives then solicited and received further support from the Cape Vincent Dive Club, the Town of Cape Vincent, the CV Improvement League, and the NYS & Bermuda Lions Foundation.
For an extended period, efforts to secure grants faced an uphill battle, partly due to reductions in funding support at all levels of government and private foundations. In 2013, the committee was successful in receiving $50,000 in DASNY funding through the assistance of Senator Pattie Richie’s office. By 2014, the CDC determined to try to move the project forward by additional avenues. With village and town approval, public works department teams agreed to supply a major portion of the labor to construct the project.
Grater Architects was contracted to prepare preliminary drawings and specifications. What the committee received far exceeded their expectations and could only be explained as Bill Grater catching the project’s vision, going “above and beyond” to supply detailed architectural drawings, for which the committee expressed profuse gratitude.
The family-friendly pavilion’s physical placement on the village property at the park has not yet been sited, although that will happen soon, with professional help to minimize any area viewshed issues. The park area currently is serviced with one port-a-potty. The project envisions a covered one-story pavilion and picnic area with cooking grills. Attached at one end will be separate men’s and women’s changing rooms with benches and lockers to secure personal items while boating and swimming, along with restroom facilities. Each area will be separated by an open 10-foot wide corridor that will have glass wall cases displaying Cape Vincent’s place in history for all to enjoy, including information about Fort Haldimand and nearby shipwrecks. This will tie in nicely with the expected approval of a New York State Parks Department loan to the village of a large cannon for outdoor display in the park.
The pavilion project will be handicapped-accessible. Village of Cape Vincent will maintain the completed project, just as they maintain other assets on village property. Plans call for the building to operate in summer months only, and closed at night.
The CDC wants the community to “catch the vision” and help complete it. Thus returning the area to the excitement of its past, where even Navy submarines pulled up to the dock and gave spontaneous tours just for fun or where railroad passengers waved to residents as the trains neared their turntable junction. The near future holds an opportunity for the park to help express community hospitality now, in today’s world. The community can help support the project in many ways, including financial contributions to complete the good work that has brought this vision to where it is today. Its goal is to enhance one of the main traffic entrances into our community.
For more information, the Community Development Committee meets at their office, 121 S. Market Street (Barnard & Docteur Bldg., SW corner office) across from Cape Dairy/Motel on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
By Linda Rowe
Linda Rowe retired to the Thousand Islands region in 2008 after careers in public government and school districts. She writes, “Her hope is to do good with her pen and perhaps make readers chuckle along the way.” And she does. She currently writes a feature article monthly for the What’s Happening in Cape Vincent, is one of “The Crew” writing News from Cape Vincent appearing in the T. I. Sun newspaper, and is working on a book about her brother’s life. She is a member of the Cape Vincent Poets and Writers Ink group. She reports she is” happily and lengthily married to Tommy.” All the children have flown the nest and all the pets have been laid to rest.”
Editor’s note: Linda provided this story to “What's Happening in Cape Vincent 13618,” Diane Doud, co-editor