Park to Remain Open

The park at Hulett’s Landing will get some funding from Washington County for operation in 2009.

The County board of supervisors voted on Dec. 11 to re-establish $14,500 to the Hulett’s and Lake Lauderdale Park in Jackson, using unexpended fund balances to off-set the cost to taxpayers.

Dresden town supervisor Robert Banks said that the funding from the county was just the beginning of making sure that the park was open to the public in the coming summer.

“I have talked with the people who run the park and I have also talked with alternative sentencing,” said Banks. “I think that we can run the park at a fraction of the price. I’m committed to this and have said and will say that the town will make sure that the park is operating.”

Banks said that the motion made by the county was step one of a process to get funding in place in 2009.

“I think that there is a lot of functional operation on these parks that needs to be worked out,” said Banks. “We are sitting here at point one of the discussion and it will probably end up at point four.”

At the Dec. 8 meeting of the Dresden town board, Banks said that the there were things that could be done to cut down on cost, including the reduction of hours that lifeguards serve at the beach.

“The park is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.,” said Banks. “We could keep the park open those hours and have the beach open for one eight-hour shift from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. There are a number of things that could be done to bring the cost down to anywhere between $12,000-14,000.”

Banks said that he problem that the beaches faced prior to the Dec. 11 vote was that while a majority of the supervisors were in favor of keeping the parks open, the supervisors that were not in favor controlled the majority of the votes in the weighted system that the county uses.

“You had 11 out of 17 supervisors that would vote in favor of keeping the parks open,” said Banks. “But you had the four big towns that voted against it.”

The compromise to only grant $14,500 to each park was met with very little resistance at the county level, with only Gayle Hall from Fort Ann voting against the motion.

Along with the funding, the motion also was amended to allow for each park to respectively keep the revenue that it generates during the summer. The amendment was made by Jackson supervisor Alan Brown.

Fort Edward supervisor Mitchell Suprenant offered another possible way that the Hulett’s park could generate funds.

“Are we looking in to getting any revenue in terms of rent out of the cottage there instead of the park manager living there,” said Suprenant.

“We could look into that,” said board chairperson Joann Trinkle.

Banks said that there was a very strong push by the taxpayers to make sure that the parks would be open in 2009.

“The chairperson received hundreds of e-mails and letters from people who use both of the parks asking that they be funded in some way,” said Banks. “Quite a few of those letters came from people in the Hulett’s Landing and Dresden area.”

A former teacher and former park manager also talked about why the two parks should remain open at the Dec. 11 meeting.

“When I was a teacher, we designed a program for seventh and eighth grade students to bring them a hands-on experience with earth sciences,” said Howard Romack, a retired science teacher at Cambridge. “It became such a popular program that we started a summer science program at Lake Lauderdale. We have also used the Hulett’s park for science classes as well. We would take the kids fishing at the dock at South Bay and then went up to Hulett’s for the rest of the afternoon.”

“I know that there are teachers who use these parks or would like to use them in the future,” said John Tulley, who managed the Lake Lauderdale park from 1988-1990

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