Baldwin Park needs careful consideration

To the editor:

The April 29 village board meeting, and subsequent Adirondack Daily

Enterprise article, “Courts or no courts,” suggest that the design for renovation of

Baldwin Park is now adrift despite an approved, funded plan that was created with

community input.

It is ironic that the proposed trade-off for possible environmental concerns about boardwalks over wetlands would result in an impermeable surface for pickleball courts adjacent to those wetlands and probably on filled wetlands. Further, as mentioned in the ADE article, a state Land and Water Revitalization Program grant for the renovation was initially denied because of the inclusion of courts. If courts become part of a redesign, will we lose $900,000 in state funding? Then what?

The village board’s eleventh-hour discussion of what to spend funds on in lieu of an ADA-compliant boardwalk begs the question of why courts in such a small park? The existing tennis courts dominate the park, and re-configured pickleball courts would also require high fencing and disrupt the flow from one end of the park to the other.

I’d like to compare pickleball courts to another recreational amenity that has a multi-usefulness. Consider when the Adirondack Rail Trail was the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. It was seasonal-use and had a narrow constituency. In its new

configuration, the rail trail provides a broad variety of all-season uses. The courts in Baldwin Park lay fallow much of the year.

If in fact we do have to reallocate funds that would’ve been invested in a boardwalk, why not invest in facilities that have a more universal utility and a smaller footprint, like more picnic tables or a public restroom? There are no public restrooms on this side of town.

If we end up with a new design that includes pickleball courts, it feels like a lost opportunity for beautifying a gateway to our village.

I hope that the Village Board will consult its Park Vision Plan and Parks and Trails Advisory Board, as on-the-fly decisions discount the years of thought the community has invested in this project.

Peter Seward

Saranac Lake


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