Updated 04/16/2012 07:59 PM
Crown Point supervisor wants public beach re-opened
The new Lake Champlain Bridge may be the big attraction in Crown Point, but local officials are hoping a new beach will lure in tourists. YNN's Matt Hunter reports.
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CROWN POINT, N.Y. – Just about once a month, Neil Haley gets on his motorcycle, leaves his home in Stephentown and makes the long drive north to the Crown Point Historic site, where he usually enjoys a picnic in the shadow of the Lake Champlain Bridge without anyone around to bother him.
"It's awesome,” Haley said. “It's like my own private park. I come up here so often, there will be one or two people walking around the fort, one or two cars and it's like I'm here by myself. It’s beautiful."
Almost 30 years ago, Haley wouldn't have been able to enjoy that solitude. Until the early 1980s, the state Department of Environmental Conservation operated a public beach but shut it down to better preserve the historic French and Indian War ruins on the site.
"It was as if you had been robbed,” Charles Harrington said. “Because it was just a part of our lives and it was just gone."
Newly elected Crown Point Town Supervisor Charles Harrington, who says he used to frequent the beach with his family, is calling on the state to bring it back.
Last month, he and the rest of the Essex County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution in support of reopening the beach, which was the only public swimming site in town.
"I perceive this as being a destination site that people will spend a whole day and perhaps and even a week camping,” said Harrington. “It's just a wonderful, wonderful place to come swim."
Harrington believes the recent opening of the new Lake Champlain Bridge has made the area an attractive destination once again and that the beach would bring even more people to the region.
While he says it's yet to be examined exactly how much reopening the beach would cost or who would cover the bill, he says he's confident a deal will be made.
"It'd be wonderful, it's underused, beautiful water. We've got the parking lot, the roads, we all pay for this and people ought to be using it," Haley said.
A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which manages the historic site for the DEC, says the DEC is working on a future use master plan for the property, which includes the campground across the street. He would not comment on whether the plan calls for reopening the beach.