Anyone interested in the Willey Park plan or the Parking question is invited to come to the Select Board meeting on August 13 at 7:00pm at the Town Hall. Comments can also be sent to the Select Board by emailing them directly or by commenting after this blog. The Greensboro Association will continue to monitor the plans and where invited to help with their formulation and implementation. A description of the current state of affairs follows.
Willey Beach Park parcel – a description
Many full- year and summer residents of Greensboro have enjoyed walking north along the shoreline of Caspian Lake from the Public Beach. The lake path continues along the shore, and several smaller paths run through the heavily wooded area towards the Library and the United Church of Christ. However, most probably do not know that this large piece of undeveloped shoreline and its woods were purchased by Greensboro in the 1970’s from the Willey’s estate with the intent to use it as recreational space. The parcel can currently be accessed from the Beach by stepping across the dam and going along the Lake Path, or from the Village via a right of way and access between the Rectory for the United Church of Christ and 83 Wilson Street.
After many years, the parcel has recently received more attention for two reasons. First, the Town of Greensboro purchased the land in the 1970’s using a State Grant. This grant mandated recreational use for the parcel and the agency responsible for the purchase has recently asked how the land has been used for recreational purposes. Second, the access to the land on Wilson Street was covered with a gravel pad during the past year, and the size of the pad has been controversial. The Select Board has been considering both issues during its summer meetings.
The parcel (shown as an overhead view at the right and here as a survey map), is approximately 3.7 acres and has about 600 feet of undeveloped shoreline. It contains marshy wet land with a stream in one section, heavily wooded areas near the lake, and some grassy areas. From Caspian, the shoreland of the parcel looks like this (the public beach is on the right of the photos.
The Gravel pad and Village Parking
While the plan for using the parcel is still under discussion, the Select Board decided in June to appoint a committee to advise the Board regarding the size and use of the gravel pad along Wilson Street. The discussion has centered around whether the area should be used only for access to the Willey Beach Park parcel, with parking for 4 or so cars, or whether the parcel should be used as a new parking area for the Village, with space for 10 cars. The 4 member advisory Committee did not unanimously agree on a recommendation at the July Select Board meeting – 3 members felt that 4 spaces were adequate and 1 member felt that the village needs more parking and that this would be an ideal area to meet that need. The issue was tabled until the August Select Board Meeting on August 13 at 7:00pm at the Town Hall.
The Plan for recreational use of the Willey Beach Park parcel
While there is no specific plan yet for how to use this parcel, there is a need to allow handicap access under State Law. A number of ideas have been floated, but there has been little concrete planning to date, and no major discussion of cost or town needs. There appears to be little appetite for major changes to the shoreline, although recreational paths through the woods and potential picnic areas, a nature path, etc. have been floated. Some individuals are interested in additional access points for small boats (kayaks, canoes, etc.) However, any plan is still under discussion.