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Mohawk island for sale: $91,900

Monday, August 20, 2012
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Real estate agent Denise Polsinelli points to Genotia Island in the Mohawk River while standing near Glen Sanders Mansion.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Real estate agent Denise Polsinelli points to Genotia Island in the Mohawk River while standing near Glen Sanders Mansion.

— For $91,900, you could have your own 19-acre island on the Mohawk River.

Owner Mel Pennacchia is putting the private island he has owned since 2006 on the market. The island is one of four visible from the Western Gateway Bridge and was used for recreation in the early part of the 20th century when a footbridge from South Ballston Avenue connected to it.

Pennacchia said he has mixed feelings about selling the island — named Glenotia for Glenville and Scotia — because he has about two dozen properties in the Capital Region and hasn’t been able to devote time to improving the land. “I’ve got so many different projects going on at this time,” he said.

The island has a rich history, which Pennacchia said is why he purchased it.

A group of Scotia men in 1907 founded the Scotia Athletic Association and leased the land from the Sanders family, who owned the Glen Sanders Mansion. The association did not renew its lease in 1912, but other recreational activities continued on the island into the 1920s. A swimming school started the following year.

Local high school track meets were held on the island. There was also a two-story pavilion — built on stilts to guard against flooding — that was for dancing parties on the top floor and clambakes and indoor picnics on the bottom floor, according to accounts by local historian Larry Hart in “Tales of Old Schenectady, Volume II.”

There were concession buildings and the island hosted on at least one occasion a carnival with a carousel and a small Ferris wheel, Hart wrote.

A bathhouse was located on the northeast side of the island and youths used to go swimming there. Motion pictures of prize fights were shown and the island housed high school football practices and games.

The footbridge was removed in the late 1920s or early 1930s and there has been little activity since. Pennacchia purchased the property from Bob Percent, whose father, James, bought it in the 1980s.

The property is zoned as conservation, so no permanent structures can be erected. Pennacchia said his vision would be to have a seasonal pavilion and picnic tables with a footbridge connecting it to the mainland. Another idea would be for somebody to have a kayak rental business, he said.

“I’d love to see something done with that island because right now it’s just sitting there,” he said.

Pennacchia said the property needs to be cleaned up of trees and overgrown brush.

Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle hoped that somebody would grab the property. “I’ve often thought that would be a great place for a recreational park for boaters, something that could be used for educational purposes,” he said.

Another idea would be some type of exhibit to teach Native American history, Koetzle said.

The property is being marketed by real estate agent Denise Polsinelli of CM Fox Real Estate.

Polsinelli is hoping some publicity will attract the right buyer. A news story back in 2005 is how Pennacchia found out about the property.

“You’ve got to be a special person out there who wants an island,” she said.

For more information, call Polsinelli at 861-7030, 369-5093 or email DPolsinelli@cmfox.com.

 
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