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Madrid park improvements unlikely this year

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MADRID - Officials here expect to know by next month what kind of timetable and funding possibilities they are looking at to make improvements to the municipal park along the Grasse River.

Alan L. Finnegan, who chairs the town’s parks committee, said Thursday that public use possibilities such as a beach, a walking trail and a campground are all on the table. But they are projects for the future and, contrary to what was hoped last year, will not be realized in 2012.

Mr. Finnegan said a meeting sometime in April will be for the purpose of establishing priorities, deciding what can be done first and, especially, figuring out where the best opportunities for grant funding exist.

The campground, Mr. Finnegan said, would start out small with a dozen campsites and expand accordingly with popularity.

The town views the campground as a revenue generator with fees charged for use.

“It would be run as a regular campground,” Mr. Finnegan said.

The beach would provide the town with a cost-saving alternative to spending $1,500 every summer to use the public beach in Waddington and provide bus transportation between there and the town.

The beach would be free of charge to the public, but Mr. Finnegan said that might not last if it turns out that non-town residents are coming in greater numbers for a swim.

“As things evolve, that would be something we’d have to look at,” he said.

The walking trail, Mr. Finnegan said, would cover the perimeter of the park as a loop.

Mr. Finnegan said another significant reason why none of these projects will get done this year is the pending repairs of the town’s Mill Dam, which is near the park. If the town, as its officials expect, is successful in obtaining a $60,000 grant from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency to pay for it, the repairs will be done this summer.

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