Eco-docks' coming to city waterfront thanks to grants

PLATTSBURGH - The city of Plattsburgh will soon have new ways to encourage people to explore Lake Champlain - and in an eco-conscious way.

The city recently received notification it will receive $69,241 in grant funding from the state Environmental Protection Fund's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The funding has been awarded to the city for the development of environmentally-friendly docks known as "eco-docks," which will provide canoeists and kayakers improved access to the lake from Wilcox Park on Cumberland Avenue and Peace Point on Dock Street.

City building inspector Rick Perry, who has been involved with recent improvements to the city waterfront, said the city applied for funding last fall as part of its continued plans to develop the city waterfront. Perry said funding will allow for docks to be established and plans to move forward to develop routes to and from Plattsburgh City Beach, as part of a network for canoeists and kayakers.

"These docks will allow you to not only launch, but give you a destination," said Perry.

The handicap-accessible eco-docks will be temporary docks that will be removable in the winter, connected to a concrete pad by a gang plank. The "floating docks," as Perry referred to them, will allow them to rise and lower with the change in lake water levels.

The eco-docks, because of their design for use only by nonmotorized watercrafts, will help promote "environmentally-friendly recreation," said Perry, which is something the city has been setting its sights on for some time.

"This would allow us for have a really good recreational program focused on learning to kayak and canoe," said Perry, "which fits perfect into green recreation."

City Mayor Donald M. Kasprzak said the recent grants for the eco-docks are part of the city's continued success in attracting waterfront development funding - funding which helps residents and visitors enjoy the lake he calls "one of our prized resources."

"When new rounds of grant funding from these different agencies come forth, we always apply and we've been very successful in receiving them," said Kasprzak. "That indicates to me they really do support our waterfront development projects."

The next step for the city is to prepare designs for the eco-docks and solicit bids for construction and development of the projects. If all goes according to plan, Perry said he expects the docks to be constructed and completed this summer.

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