Supervisor George Armstrong couldn’t justify paying a private company to remove the weeds growing around the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, so he decided to do it himself.
Armstrong, with some help from his nephew, Michael Wade, and two local high school students interning at his farm, removed weeds and other vegetation that had become entangled in the chain-link mesh enclosure that houses the historic schooner.
“I made the decision to do it because there was some talk of getting some other outfit in here to do it, but that would have cost a fortune,” Armstrong said. “It’s been years since it’s been done, and we’re hoping to get it in a state where it’s a long time before it all comes back.”
Earlier this month, Carol Greenough, Heritage Area Director and head of the Skenesborough Museum, told officials she was hoping to have the weeds removed.
She said the heat and humidity coupled with the excessive rain had made the weeds worse this year than in years past and described the ship’s appearance as “crummy.”
She said she even received at least one email that took the community to task for allowing the weeds to get so bad.
One of the biggest obstacles to removing the weeds is the enclosure itself, which stands only a foot or two from the sides of the ship, providing very little room for someone trying to remove the weeds.
In order to really get at the weeds, the enclosure needed to be rolled up.
Officials suggested using participants in Washington County’s Alternative Sentencing program to do the work, but Armstrong said the town already plans to use them to cut brush along the canal.
“He took it upon himself,” said Julie Millett, town clerk.
Armstrong said he and Wade did the front side of the enclosure in five or six hours on Sunday and Monday, and they were hoping to complete the work earlier this week.
Greenough was appreciative of the work.
“The work went faster than I calculated it would. He’s got so many things on his plate but was able to find the space to do it,” she said.
She and Armstrong hope to take measures this fall to inhibit future weed growth so that it doesn’t become a problem again in the future, and they have discussed laying down landscaping fabric and perhaps some crushed stone.
“For the public’s sake, it looks very, very nice. I’m sorry some visitors didn’t get to see when it looked nice, but I’m very glad it’s going to look good,” Greenough said.