Rotarians unite for park groundbreaking

PLATTSBURGH The city will soon have a new place for families to gather to enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain. Members of the Plattsburgh Rotary Club gathered at the former site of the Old Base Marina on the shores of Lake Champlain Oct. 10, to break ground for a new community park. Gil Zahn, committee co-chairman, said the project originated from a request from former Mayor Daniel Stewart, who visited the club in 2002 while still in office, said Zahn. Stewart asked the club to develop one of three lakefront properties Wilcox Dock, Sailors Beach or the Old Base Marina. The club decided to take on the development of the Old Base Marina property adjacent Lake Forest Senior Living Community, as a tribute to the first 100 years of Rotary International, appropriately naming the project Plattsburgh Rotary Centennial Park. Barbara Straw, the clubs long-time secretary and now co-chair of the park committee, developed the projects master plan with the assistance of local architect John McKenna and engineer Al Sweenor, said Zahn. The original plans took most of the first year to develop, he said. The first phase of the project will involve removing existing playground equipment and a shed currently on the upper level of the property. A Victorian pavilion constructed by students from the CV-TEC building trades program will replace the shed, with the foundation being established by Fuller Excavating, said Zahn. Picnic tables will also be installed, fencing will be reconfigured and handicap-accessible accomdations will be among the other improvements made. The first phase, which is expected to be complete by spring, will cost an estimated $57,000. The majority of the cost 80 percent was donated by individual Rotarians, said Zahn. The remainder will be paid for using club funds. In subsequent phases of the project, the park will have a hillside garden and an overlook for Plattsburgh Bay will be built. The master plan also calls for the installation of markers designating points of historical interest on the lake and walking trails along the lake to be established. Additional funding will be required to complete the project, said Zahn. To that end, the club has created a fund with the Adirondack Community Trust to accept donations, which are fully tax-deductible. The philanthropic work of Rotary clubs around the world, including the Plattsburgh chapter, is of the utmost priority to its members, said Zahn, with the Centennial Park project being no exception. The park will be open to small groups for weddings and picnics and will also be able to serve as meeting site as part of the greater campus for the nearby Battle of Plattsburgh and Champlain Valley Transportation museums. The Rotary motto is service above self and the Plattsburgh Rotary Club gives back both to the local and world community, said Zahn. Vicki L. Marking, club public relations chairperson, said the park will make a lasting impact on the community, transforming another part of the former Plattsburgh Air Force base into a new and vibrant part of our community. It will be a place for community members and visitors alike to come and enjoy the natural beauty of the lake, said Marking. In addition, it will a lasting tribute to the work of our local Rotarians and celebrate 100 years of Rotary International and its good work around the globe." The Plattsburgh Rotary Club would like to thank the following for their contributions toward the Rotary Centennial Park project: major donor Erik Eaglefeather; platinum level donors Bill McBride and Soham Patel; gold level donors Linda Shepard, Barb Straw and Gil Zahn; silver level donors Aan Booth, Hope Coryer, Don Green, Bob Frenyea, Rod Giltz, Phil Green, Driss Hassan, Chuck Paepke, Nick Pope, Bob Parks, Gerry Sherwin, and Sams Club; bronze level donors Area Development Corp., Elle Berger, Heidi Clute, Ditt Dittmar, Marge Gerhardt, Hannah Hanford, John McGaulley, John Prim and John Seiden. Donations may be sent to the Plattsburgh Rotary Club, P.O. Box 86, Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901. Checks should be made payable to the Plattsburgh Rotary Club Fund at ACT. For more information on the project, call 563-7040 or visit www.plattsburghrotary.org.

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