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Park upgrades on the horizon in Lake Placid

Changes to Peacock Park, Power Pond Park could be made next year

The Mirror Lake beach and beach house at Peacock Park are seen here from Mirror Lake Drive on Saturday, Sept. 26. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — Two parks, two plans. One everybody knows — Peacock Park. It’s the center of Mirror Lake activity. The other — Power Pond Park — is essentially out of sight, out of mind, but it offers solitude and room to roam.

The Appearance Committee of the Lake Placid/North Elba Community Development Commission requested upgrades to both parks a few years ago. This year, engineering students from Clarkson University in Potsdam presented their ideas for the parks. And next year, some of those upgrades could be made, according to the commission’s chairman, Dean Dietrich.

“When the Appearance Committee was formed, one of their mission statements, the village particularly, said take a look at the use of public spaces. And they’ve been doing that, trying to pick off one or two at a time,” Dietrich said. “And these two were the first two that popped up in terms of priorities.”

Peacock Park because it is probably one of the most used parks in the village.

“And Power Pond because it’s one of the newest. It was just created,” Dietrich said. “So what are we going to do with this new creation?”

Lake Placid/North Elba Tree Board volunteers Patrick and Margaret Murphy plant trees and shrubs at Power Pond Park in May 2019. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

Robert J. Peacock Park — named after the village’s former mayor — is where the toboggan chute, beach house, beach, playground and tennis courts are located on Parkside Drive. Power Pond Park — named after Power Pond, which was drained in 2013 to make way for a new sewer trunk line — is located along the Chubb River behind Lamb Lumber on Sentinel Road.

The commission submitted a request for proposals in January. The plans were completed by April and presented to the Appearance Committee in August.

Peacock Park

The final report from Clarkson, presented by ADV Engineering, outlined several goals for the upgrades for Peacock Park:

– Create an aesthetically pleasing environment.

– Encourage a variety of recreational uses.

– Protect the environment.

– Promote ease of movement.

– Provide for security and safety.

The Appearance Committee identified needs for different areas of the park based on those goals, and the engineers came up with the following plans.

– Enhance pedestrian access to the beach by creating a new pathway to the left side of the beach house.

– Stabilize or replace the beach house deck.

– Extend the sitting wall at the beach.

– Build a storage shed underneath the toboggan chute.

– Install a floating dock — 6.5 feet wide and 40 feet long — to launch small watercraft, such as rowboats, canoes and kayaks.

“One of the things that the Appearance Committee wanted to do is get a little more use out of the area on the north end of Peacock Park, by the Adirondack (Community) Church,” Dietrich said. “So the idea of putting a picnic table there, the kayak rack is there … if you’re going to put the rack there, you really need a launching area, a launching dock.”

There is also a plan to build a permanent shelter by the playground or Mirror Lake, possibly an octagon gazebo, or install a moveable shelter, to be used during the winter months.

“People who want to skate on Mirror Lake don’t really have any sheltered place to put their skates on,” Dietrich said. “The Clarkson students came up with the idea of a more permanent shelter in that area that would have double duty. Parents can sit in there in shade and shelter and watch their kids in the playground. Or during the wintertime, you could use that area to put on skates and get down to the lake.”

Some upgrades have already been completed, including landscaping, the installation of a water fountain at the beach house to refill water bottles and the construction of a community kayak rack at the toboggan chute.

Power Pond Park

Power Pond, also known as Lower Mill Pond, was drained in August 2013. The dam below it was demolished a year later, letting the Chubb River meander on its own downstream of the Upper Mill Pond dam, behind Lisa G’s restaurant.

The outline of Power Pond can still be seen on Google Maps in default mode; in satellite mode, it shows the pond as recently drained, with vehicles, during the early days of restoration.

The drainage created space to build a new park, which the village did with topsoil and plantings. Volunteers from the Lake Placid/North Elba Tree Board have planted trees and shrubs around the park, particularly along the river.

“The first priority was to stabilize the riverbank,” Dietrich said. “That took waiting a year to see where the stream was going to settle.”

Yet access to the park is limited. People can walk into the park from a little-known “trailhead” on Sentinel Road to the right of Lamb Lumber, and there is access from Power House Lane, which leads from Sentinel Road to the wastewater treatment plant, but only if people park on the side of the road.

The plan, detailed by Clarkson engineering students, calls for the construction of a parking lot on Power House Lane. It also proposes a new nature trail with two or three pedestrian bridges crossing the Chubb River. The goal is to increase recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, including fishing for trout.

Future

The Appearance Committee is now moving forward on these plans. That includes searching for funds for the upgrades.

“We’re trying to implement it point by point,” Dietrich said. ‘“It will continue to be a joint effort between the Appearance Committee and the Development Commission and then the village.”

A year from now, Dietrich said some of these upgrades could be in place.