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Warren Co. officials dismayed over Lake George park ownership dispute

During a press conference lauding the beginning of construction of the Charles Wood park in 2010, Mayor Blais (front ) talks of the benefits the park would provide in protecting the purity of Lake George, while offering new recreational and educational opportunities for visitors and residents alike. Although the town of Lake George now seeks to reclaim its 19 percent share in the park it relinquished to the Village in 2010, village officials are balking at the idea, and have suggested that the county give up part of its 62 percent share to the town.

During a press conference lauding the beginning of construction of the Charles Wood park in 2010, Mayor Blais (front ) talks of the benefits the park would provide in protecting the purity of Lake George, while offering new recreational and educational opportunities for visitors and residents alike. Although the town of Lake George now seeks to reclaim its 19 percent share in the park it relinquished to the Village in 2010, village officials are balking at the idea, and have suggested that the county give up part of its 62 percent share to the town. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Warren County leaders aired concerns April 20 over the village of Lake George’s reluctance to sell back to the town of Lake George its 19 percent share of the Charles Wood Park that the latter relinquished in 2010.

Under a prior administration, the town of Lake George sold the village its share in the park for $210,000 after a dispute erupted about what buildings in the park’s festival space should be demolished.

Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, who took office Jan. 1, said at the Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting April 20 that he was “very disappointed” in the village’s apparent unwillingness to sell the town’s share back on the same terms they had acquired it.

“The environmental groups paid for the village’s share, and now the village government is not willing to part with it?” he said.

At the board meeting, the county leaders passed a resolution expressing support of the town rejoining park ownership. Supervisors urged that pressure be applied to the village government to influence them to sell the share back to the town on the same terms they acquired it, and the idea was endorsed without objection.

An amendment to the resolution was proposed by budget officer Kevin Geraghty and approved by the board, requiring that parking meter cash collected by Village employees be submitted to the county on a bi-weekly basis, so it can be regularly tallied and distributed.

“We want to make sure those quarters don’t somehow disappear,” Geraghty said with a smile.

Efforts to contact Lake George Mayor Robert Blais April 24 were unsuccessful , because he was on vacation.

But calls to Lake George Village Trustee Ray Perry were answered.

Reiterating discussion at recent village board meetings, Perry said Blais and the village trustees didn’t object to the town re-acquiring ownership of the park, but the county should sell a portion of its 62 percent ownership stake to the town, instead of the village relinquishing half of its 38 percent.

“We don’t want to sell back any of our shares,” he said, noting that with town elections every two years, a new town board might want seek to reverse its decision for a second time, and that would likely threaten the stability and progress of the project. “We would welcome the town to become involved again, however, if they can acquire a part ownership from the county.”

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