Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dennis Dickinson goal: New sewer, lights, sidewalk Hearthstone to LG village line

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson tells The Chronicle he hopes to achieve a mile-long sewer and road improvement project from the Lake George Village line north along Route 9N to the state’s Hearthstone Campground.

He said the project — which he estimates at $20-million — is a possibility because of the success of the town’s earlier Gateway Project with the state of New York on Route 9 south of Lake George Village.

He said Bob Stegemann, the Department of Environmental Conservation regional director — who has since retired — proposed the north end project.

Mr. Dickinson said Mr. Stegemann suggested to him: “If the state came up with the money to replace the sewer line from Hearthstone Park to the Village of Lake George, would the Town take it over?”

Reached for comment on Tuesday, DEC spokesperson Kevin O. Frazier emailed, “DEC supports the proposed sewer improvement project, which will strengthen protections to the lake and surrounding ecosystems.

Extending sanitary sewer infrastructure along Route 9N and adding service to existing commercial properties was identified as a priority project in the Lake George HABs Action Plan.”

Mr. Dickinson emphasized that the project is in its earliest stages and would take four or more years to plan and complete.

He said the current 4-inch pipes along Route 9N that flow south to Lake George’s sewage treatment plant are 30 years old and in need of replacement.

The treatment plant, a joint effort of the village and town, is undergoing a state-mandated rebuild and expansion.

Mr. Dickinson said the thought is to install a new sewer line of 8- to 12-inch pipe that could serve commercial and residential properties on the Lake Shore Drive corridor from Hearthstone to the village line.

Sidewalks, lights, stormwater

At the same time, Mr. Dickinson said, the Town would do road improvements, stormwater management and add sidewalks, curbs and lighting. “It would be a game changer,” he said, adding that aging septic systems on properties along the road have deterred some development.

Businesses in the corridor include The Inn at Erlowest, The Lodges at Cresthaven, Green Haven Resort, The Quarters at Lake George and others.

The project would require creating a sewer taxing district that property owners would have to approve by vote.

“To afford it,” said Mr. Dickinson, “you have to have a tax base capable of doing it.”

He said the prospect of DEC paying the cost of installing the sewer line would make the project affordable and enticing.

Says businesses would welcome sewer

Mr. Dickinson said he has spoken to some large commercial properties that are already on board for such a project. He believes others that face problems with current septic systems would likely welcome it.

He anticipates some opposition, especially from older, individual homeowners.

“That’s where the Town Supervisor comes in,” he said. “This is the first thing we have to accomplish. We’ll have to do that, maybe at the same time we are working on the road design.”

Mr. Dickinson said Lake Shore Drive would remain two lanes, without a median, but that it is wide enough in most places to allow sidewalks, bike lanes and curbs. He said the road narrows in some places that would have to be addressed, for example on a stretch north of Schoolhouse Road bordered on both sides by stone walls.

Cites danger for pedestrians

Mr. Dickinson said the current road is dangerous, especially for international J2 workers who typically bike or walk to their places of employment. “You see them all the time. Europeans like to bicycle. Latinos walk, sometimes four or five abreast. It’s a serious problem, especially at night.”

Like the “Gateway Project” that Mr. Dickinson said cost $7-million but required only $350,000 from the town, he expects the project would be a partnership with the state Department of Transportation — and much of the tab would be picked up by the DOT or funded through grants.

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