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Lisbon hopes to expand town docks

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LISBON – Faced with the potential for hordes of fishermen expected at this year’s opening day of trout, walleye, northern pike and muskie seasons Saturday, the Town Council is considering expanding its parking lot and docks to cope with excess traffic.

Long lines and waiting periods make unloading boats difficult for boaters and fishermen, according to town campground director Michael O’Neil.

“There’s quite a call for people who want to rent dockage for the summer, and, as far as the parking lot is concerned, we do not have enough room,” Mr. O’Neil said. “It’s hard to count really how many people use the docks. We count the campers, but there are also local people and area fishermen, who we don’t count.” Over the years, Mr. O’Neil says the dock has become a popular destination for Canadians and seasonal residents.

“The beach and campground are popular places for people to launch boats, fish and camp. From when the boat launch opens at 4 a.m. until dusk, you’ll see all the trailers and trucks and campers at any time during the day,” Mr. O’Neil said.

So far, plans to expand the area are in the preliminary stages, and estimates for the project have not been calculated, Town Supervisor James W. Armstrong said.

“Right now we know we would like to expand the area for more vehicles and boat trailers. There’s more and more people using the docks, and we’d like to make it more convenient,” said Mr. Armstrong. “But the goal will be to do it without using taxpayer dollars.”

Mr. O’Neil said improving the docks will have an impact beyond the town’s borders.

“The beach is a vital part of Lisbon, and the economy around the fisherman and campers brings a lot of revenue to Ogdensburg to Massena,” he said. “People that stay here come from all over, and do most their shopping in the area.”

The Town Council plans to expand the campground to include water and sewer hook-ups.

Earlier this year, an engineering study was conducted and completed which surveyed the cost of installing water and sewer hook-ups for recreational vehicles at the campground, Mr. Armstrong said.

“We were finding that more and more people wanted to have full hook-up when they set up their camps,” he said. “The engineering study is complete and we attached it to a grant application to be reviewed by the River Agency (St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency). Pending their approval, phase two will be to have water and electricity and sewer hook-up.”

Ideas are still being considered to develop 3.6 acres of land adjacent to the campground.

At the last meeting, Mr. Armstrong suggested building a mini-golf course.

“Our main focus now it to just try to make it more user-friendly, have more availability for people to use it, and, hopefully, they will tell other people about it,” said Mr. Armstrong.

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