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Waddington’s mayor criticizes NYPA over pavilion maintenance

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WADDINGTON – The village’s mayor says the New York Power Authority has fallen back on its contractual obligations to maintain its land along the St. Lawrence River.

For six years, Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada said, she has asked NYPA representatives to replace the 22-by-40 foot barn-red painted pavilion in Island View Park. Built in 1976, Mrs. Otto-Cassada said the pavilion is “outdated” and an “eyesore.”

“Most of all, though, it’s inadequate,” she said. “More and more people are coming to Waddington for fishing and for concerts, and it’s just not big enough.”

Waddington Concert Series Coordinator Louise C. Smith said she would like to “see something bigger, especially since the events have become more popular and more well-known acts are drawing larger and larger crowds.”

The last concert drew approximately 260 people, according to Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Otto-Cassada also said the bathroom is not large enough.

“They really need a nice amphitheater or a stage with a new bathrooms incorporated into the structure,” said Superintendent of Public Works Steven VanPatten.

“I would like to see an elevated stage and new electrical hookups—some do not work,” said Mrs. Smith. “Most performers bring their own sound systems.”

She said another pavilion at the town beach is not often used because it is out of the way.

“Island View Park is a prime location. People come in on boats, come to the concerts and go to restaurants on Main Street,” she said. “It would be nice to find a way to showcase the acts in front of the water, without obstructing the view.”

Under a settlement tied to NYPA’s 2003 relicensing agreement to operate the St. Lawrence-FDR hydrodam in Massena, the village is responsible for maintaining the parking areas, trails, vegetation and operate, repair or rebuild the facilities. NYPA must reimburse the costs for new or replacement recreation equipment.

“We did build in Island View Park all the recreation facility improvements that were agreed to by the local officials and required under the relicensing settlement agreement,” said NYPA spokeswoman Connie M. Cullen. “We understand the mayor’s request, and we plan to reach out and discuss with her options available to the village through the existing relicensing initiatives.”

The village estimated the cost of a new pavilion to be roughly $83,000, and has offered for town and village crews to do some of the work.

“It also stands as a welcome to Waddington,” said Mrs. Otto-Cassada. “It’s the first thing many people see when they arrive from the St. Lawrence River, and it’s something [NYPA] puts their name on. They should want something that represents them proudly.”

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