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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Potsdam planning officials draft Ives Park renovation plans

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POTSDAM - Planning officials have prepared a draft for the renovation of Ives Park as part of an effort to improve the village’s downtown and draw more tourists.

The draft plan includes new LED lighting that will increase illumination throughout the park, a six-foot concrete path to allow wheelchair accessibility, a flexible boat-launch for kayaks and canoes and a pull-off for a seasonal kayak rental cart.

The plan also calls for the building of a playground and an open-air pavilion along Hamilton Street; however, both of those features would not be included in the first phase of the work, according to Frederick Hanss, director of planning and development. The pavilion would be 30 feet by 60 fee, and would provide a venue for outdoor events, such as farmer’s markets.

The renovation of Ives Park is the first step of a 10-year, $2.6-million development plan meant to revitalize downtown and draw more visitors to Potsdam.

The 198-page document, which has been in the works since 2009, will drive Potsdam’s development goals for the next decade, according to Mr. Hanss.

Mr. Hanss said the village will hold a public hearing sometime later this month or in June to gauge community opinion on the plan.

Planning officials hope that by paving and widening the main walkway they’ll draw more people by providing access for people with disabilities and parents pushing infants in strollers. The concrete path will end at the new boat-launch, which will be pushed back so that boaters won’t have to pass by wedding ceremonies held at the gazebo during the summer months. After the boat-launch, the path will turn to stone dust, which Mr. Hanss said will allow for greater permeability of storm-water.

The renovation plans also calls for new park benches, picnic tables, signage and the planting of shrubs and trees along the shoreline. One concern raised by planning board members is the location of a public restroom hin Ives Park. Planning board members see the need to accomodate restroom facilities for the convenience of park-goers, but while Mr. Hanss suggested it be located toward the center or back of the park, other board members felt it should be located near the main entrance on Main Street.

“Put the bathroom near the entrance of the park. For people going downtown it would be much more visible down there,” board member Jim Corbett said.

Board member Ted Prahl agreed, noting a bathroom located near Main Street would be more convenient for downtown shoppers and passersby on Main Street.

“If we got to put one bathroom, put one where the most people will use it,” Mr. Prahl said.

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