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Sackets Harbor board balks at Boultons Beach donation offer

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SACKETS HARBOR — The village Board of Trustees balked Tuesday at a resident’s offer to donate two private roads neighboring Boultons Beach that could lead to the launch of a village park with public swimming access, because of concerns over how the property would be maintained and policed.

The board decided to table the donation offer made by Kris D. Dimmick, 101 Boultons Beach Road, and reconsider it in the spring. That move could allow time for officials to tour the waterfront property and residents to voice their opinions.

Only residents who live on Ambrose Street and Boultons Beach Road now may access the beach area to the south on Lake Ontario’s Henderson Bay, where the two private roads owned by Mr. Dimmick lead.

By making those roads public, his donation would create s public waterfront.

But the offer could be a conflict of interest, according to Vincent J. Battista III, who replaced F. Eric Constance as mayor Dec. 1.

Mr. Dimmick is vice president of operations for Watertown-based Bernier, Carr & Associates, which is employed by the village for engineering services.

“It’s a good idea, on the one hand, for the village to have a beach,” Mr. Battista said. “But on the other hand, I have issues with the cost of maintenance, trash removal, public lighting, security and liability issues. And it’s being asked to be donated from a principal of Bernier & Carr, which to me is a conflict of interest because we currently employ them for engineering services. They’ve done good work for us, but many millions of dollars have changed hands. I have concerns about accepting a gift like this.”

According to the terms of the donation offer, village residents would be prohibited from parking along private roads leading to the beach area; they would be allowed to park only at Boultons Beach water plant, off Ambrose Street to the west of Boultons Beach.

The village would be responsible for snowplowing and repairing the two private roads if it became the owner; right now, a group of residents who live on the streets pays annual maintenance dues.

Richard G. “Butch” Coseo, sergeant in charge for the Sackets Harbor Police Department, said he is concerned about how police would enforce parking laws and oversee the public swimming area.

“This would be a major headache for law enforcement,” Mr. Coseo said. “We don’t have the personnel to do this, and it would be a serious liability issue.”

Trustee Peter R. Daly said the village instead should consider establishing a park with waterfront access on land it already owns that borders the water treatment plant.

“We should pursue the water-plant area, which has a lot more potential,” Mr. Daly said.

The village has considered establishing a picnic area with public swimming access on that land, Mr. Battista said, which would include steps leading to the shore.

“People could access the water and swim,” he said. “And we’re looking at putting in a small dock where people could kayak from.”

That plan could be funded partly by a $20,000 state grant secured through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council announced last week, Mr. Battista said.

The village will use the funding to conduct a feasibility study on waterfront parks and facilities.

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