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Sections of Watkins Glen's Clute Park have been disrupted by three simultaneous projects .

Guest Column: Mayor Luke Leszyk

The Watkins Glen mayor answers concerns that the popular Clute Park has become something of an eyesore, the activity there disruptive. It will get back to normal, he says.

What is going on at Clute Park

WATKINS GLEN, May 23, 2021 -- I know that many are wondering what is going on down at Clute Park, and probably are not too happy.I know it does not look pretty right now, but I promise it will not stay this way. As you may or may not be aware, there are three separate projects going on simultaneously, and this was done on purpose. The thought process was that each project was going to be disruptive to the park, so let’s get them all done and have our park back to normal.

First off, Cargill is running new brine lines through the park. Cargill owns the property where our community center and campground is located and it has lifetime use of our lakeside park. Those small buildings that look like small sheds that you see about the park are actually well heads that pump brine water from far below the lake and send it to the plant to be processed. This is updating that was needed, and will be done within the next couple of weeks.

The second phase is the removal of several trees in the park. We had 15 very large trees that were completely dead. I am unsure what caused their death, but they no longer had leaves and were shedding bark. They were becoming an extreme hazard as they were starting to drop large limbs that could cause serious harm to someone. We are going to plant three trees to every one that we have taken down. The planting of the trees will be happening in about a week.

The third project is the new event center, bath house, ice rink and splash pad. As most know, the last phase of any project is the landscaping. Right now there is still construction going on and heavy equipment moving about. The landscaping and replanting will begin the first of June. Along with grass reseeding, we are putting in 32 canopy trees, 5 ornamental trees that will be 10 to 12 feet high and 12 conifer trees for a total of 49 trees in that area.

I for one understand some people’s frustration and concern for the park. I am a firm believer that you leave something better than how you found it. When all these projects are completed and we see the results, there will be a better understanding and I hope you are impressed. It wasn’t that long ago that we put in a kayak launch and some said it was not a good idea and no one would use it. Good luck finding a parking spot there in the summer.

I hope this answers some of the questions that the public has had, and thank you for your patience.

Photo in text: Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk.

Construction work continues on the new event center at Clute Park.


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