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West Carthage riverfront project progresses

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WEST CARTHAGE — The village is inching toward a new riverfront park and boat launch.

It’s been nearly a year since Jill Aikins of GYMO Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying, Watertown, presented a conceptual design of improvements to the South Main Street boat launch and surrounding area to the village Board of Trustees.

During its April 22 meeting, the board reviewed an updated budget for the project prepared by GYMO. The budget is higher than the funding that has been awarded, but as part of grant agreements, the village has done some of the in-kind work and will continue to do so.

The proposed budget is $325,535, and the village has obtained $114,908 in funding from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Recreational Trails Program. The village plans to apply for more funding through the state Consolidated Funding Application.

River Area Council of Governments circuit rider Kathleen M. Amyot suggested an ad hoc committee be formed to peruse the budget for line items that could be performed by village Department of Public Works employees or obtained through other means.

Mayor Scott M. Burto said that a formal Riverfront Committee will be formed at the next Board of Trustees meeting and that interested residents should notify the village office or attend the meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. May 13 at the village office, 61 High St.

Mr. Burto said the ad hoc committee will look into donation venues for items such as benches, grills and trees.

“Memorial plaques would be a lasting legacy of the contribution to the improvement of the community,” the mayor said.

DPW has cleared trees and moved dirt on the parcel to form a foundation for driveways and walkways. The village is identifying elements of the project that can be accomplished through shared-service efforts with the Jefferson County Highway Department or the town of Champion.

Following Tuesday’s meeting of the committee, GYMO project manager Thomas S. Compo said he has received project approval from both the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Mr. Compo said the next step will be to advertise for bids for the project.

“I’m excited to see construction begin,” Mr. Burto said. “I look forward to providing a beautiful facility for area residents to use.”

The project, which is to include a boat launch, walkways, picnic areas and a gazebo, is part of the Destination Blueway: Waterfront Plan for the villages of Carthage and West Carthage.

The plan is part of a regional initiative to attract tourism along the Black River.

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