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Secretary of state praises locals

LAKE GEORGE - Standing on a plot of land near Lake George that is scheduled in several years to host a stormwater-scrubbing wetland, New York's Secretary of State Lorraine Cort s-V zquez praised local politicians and environmentalists for their ability to cooperate in working toward creating a $15 million environmental park that is expected to enhance the lake's water quality.

Cort s-V zquez visited Lake George Tuesday, meeting and chatting with local officials and leaders of environmental organizations - in addition to offering a ceremonial speech at the site of the pending West Brook Environmental Park project. Initial construction and demolition work on the park is scheduled to begin this fall.

"I'm enthused about the spirit of cooperation in Lake George between public officials and environmentalists," she said, noting the millions of dollars that the state has committed to the project. "It's a treasure and a pleasure to work with you in this delicate balance between economic development and environmental protection."

The tension accompanying that delicate balance, however, was evident in the differing words that environmentalists and politicians used in their speeches to describe the project. Regardless of differences of opinion on the project, all parties praised the state liberally for their participation in funding it.

Lake George Association's Walt Lender noted how the restoration of the wetlands destroyed many decades ago was vital in protecting the lake's water quality, and this ecological aspect was always the prime focus of the project. Plans call for not only for construction of stormwater-cleansing wetlands, but for development of walking and hiking trails, nature overlooks and interpretive signs.

"We hope your visit brings the spotlight back to the environmental aspects," Lender said.

Apparently "we" didn't include Warren County Board of Supervisors Fred Monroe.

He shifted the focus on the festival space, the 2.5 acres of the park that county Supervisors negotiated control over - for hosting festivals and parking. The controversial aspect of the project for many months has been whether or not to retain two buildings on county's portion of the park lands to host festivals and events regardless of weather conditions.

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