Bathrooms coming to boat launch

The DEC remediation team was thanked for completing a cleanup project at Lake Flower in less than a year. From left, Section Chief Dave Harrington, Project Manager Sarah Saucier, Bureau Director Michael Cruden and Regional Environmental Remediation Engineer Russell Huyck smile at the Lake Flower boat launch Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Kevin Shea)

SARANAC LAKE — A pause in Tuesday’s gray drizzle allowed for the announcement that a bathroom will be built at the Lake Flower Boat Launch and that the Lake Flower remediation project is complete.

For many years village officials have been asking the state Department of Environmental Conservation to put bathrooms at the popular boat launch, which the DEC owns and manages. The DEC installed outhouses some years ago, and now it will replace those with bathrooms with plumbing.

“This is a noteworthy day because it’s taken a while to get here,” DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann said.

The restroom will be built this fall and completed by boating season next year, according to Stegemann. It will be in the western corner of the property, partially covering a stone walkway and a line of boulders. The walkway and boulders will be moved out of the way and closer to the property line.

“DEC is actively encouraging New Yorkers to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, and we’re pleased to announce this new full-service restroom will be available for boaters and visitors to the village of Saranac Lake’s nearby parks,” Stegemann said in a press release from the DEC.

Pictured is a completed bathroom facility that the DEC say the new Lake Flower restroom will look like when finished next year. (Enterprise photo — Kevin Shea)

DEC will connect the restroom to village water and sewer, according to the press release. The facility will have four toilets and two sinks, and separate rooms for men and women. It will be maintained by the DEC in the summer and spring, and then by the village in the winter and off-season; the village can decide to keep it open during that time.

Stegemann said the facility will relieve pressure on nearby businesses that have accommodated people who need to use a restroom, and that it will also benefit the environment.

Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau said that there has been a growing need for the new facility, as Saranac Lake has grown as a tourist destination.

“This is one of the needs that we have,” Rabideau said.

Rabideau also thanked Stegemann, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the DEC for its help in the remediation of Lake Flower from the contaminants from a manufactured gas plant that operated on Payeville Road from the late 1800s into the 1940s.

From left, Franklin County Legislator Lindy Ellis, Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann and village Trustee Richard Shapiro announce the building of a bathroom at the Lake Flower Boat Launch in Saranac Lake and the completion of the Lake Flower remediation project. (Enterprise photo — Kevin Shea)

Cleanup of Lake Flower, Brandy Brook and the former coal gasification plant site began in April of last year, and the DEC declared it finished this January. But remediation of the staging area beside the Lake Flower Boat Launch waited until spring, and on Tuesday the entire $42 million cleanup project was declared complete. Rabideau and Stegemann thanked DEC staff who led the cleanup: Bureau Director Michael Cruden, Project Manager Sarah Saucier, Section Chief Dave Harrington and Regional Environmental Remediation Engineer Russell Huyck.