Saratoga County

Plan for back-to-nature park on track

Plans for the town’s newest back-to-nature park are moving along, as the Town Board prepares to c

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Plans for the town’s newest back-to-nature park are moving along, as the Town Board prepares to choose one architect from a pool of 13 applicants to design the Dwaaskill Nature Preserve on Riverview Road near Brian Drive. The Town Board is expected to award the bid to a contractor within the next week.

The six-acre passive park will give residents access to the Mohawk River, where they can carry in canoes and launch kayaks. The plan for the land also calls for a nature trail along the riverbank area, picnic tables, a small gravel parking lot and a ramp to make it easier to bring a boat to the water’s edge.

John Scavo, Clifton Park’s newly hired town planner, said Monday all of the three final designs take into account the wish lists of residents who want to see the sprawling parcel maintain its natural attributes.

“The three finalists were all very strong candidates, and any one of them will no doubt produce a design we’re all happy with,” Scavo said. “We need to keep in mind that the site is very large, and there are certain parts that carry limitations on wetlands.”

Scavo said he hopes to see a nature path with interpretive signs for environmental education about the attributes of the landscape and its historical connection to early settlement along the Mohawk River.

“The path would likely be constructed of wooden platforms to minimize the effect on the landscape,” Scavo said. “The idea here is to preserve as much as possible of what’s already on the land.”

This past winter, the town put the site design services, preparation of a management plan and construction phase services out to bid. The town received 13 proposals from qualified firms offering their professional services. Of the 13 proposals received, the top three were selected for additional review, and gave a 30-minute presentation on their approach.

Along the way, the Town Board has culled suggestions and comments from town residents in public discussions as early as last fall. Members of the public voiced their wishes repeatedly that the park land remain in its natural state as much as possible. Scavo said they will continue to canvass the community for input as the project moves forward.

“The public participation component is a crucial aspect of consideration for us,” Scavo said. “Residents will be invited again to voice their ideas in the site’s development. These are active meetings, not a typical power point where we dictate the plans ahead.”

Scavo said once a contract is awarded, residents will have another chance to scrutinize the layout.

“I’d like to see a walking tour of the site once the weather improves,” Scavo said. “Many people have driven by the area but haven’t walked it.”

This latest addition to town recreational space will also be designed to link to future open space additions and trail connections that would complement the preserve.

Scavo said the project is anticipated to be a six- to seven-month planning process from start to finish. The Town Board would like to see the process completed in the fall of 2008.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply