Gaslight park awarded $2.5 million

LAKE GEORGE - The effort to develop the former Gaslight Village into a municipal park was advanced this week as Gov. David Paterson announced that $2.5 million in federal funds would be directed to the project.

The money is likely to be used for nature trails, bicycle paths, scenic overlooks and landscaping in the environmental park, which has a primary purpose of purifying stormwater naturally.

The grant was part of $81 million in awards announced by Paterson for non-traditional transportation projects statewide.

"It's really good to hear we will be receiving this help in the Gaslight project," Warren County Supervisor Fred Monroe said, adding that he hoped a portion of the money could be used to develop the 2.5 acres reserved for festival space.

Monroe said that the county would be seeking to use some of the funds to rehabilitate the former Cavalcade of Cars and Opera House buildings to host for festivals, concerts, and other events.

Lake George Supervisor Lou Tessier said Monday that renovation work on the buildings would be resuming soon as weather allowed.

Town employees have intermittently worked on upgrading the buildings and cleaning up the site while local and county leaders have been attempting to reach a decision on whether to salvage the buildings or demolish them. Environmentalists co-sponsoring the park project have argued the structures should be razed.

Last month, county and town officials decided to rehabilitate the Opera House into an open air pavilion, and the Cavalcade of Cars as an all-purpose enclosed exposition hall.

Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender said Monday his organization wrote the grant application, and the funds were awarded to the Village of Lake George for the overall environmental park enhancements.

"The grant's scope of work includes the public facilities of the site, including walkways, trails, lighting, and an entrance road," he said. "The grant was written broadly enough to include plantings of rain gardens and stormwater treatment - there's plenty of work to be done on the site."

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