Letters

Dear Mark,
A program to purchase land in Hammondsport for park purposes is proceeding slowly. Efforts by P.A.R.K. (Public Alliance to Rescue Keuka) have raised approximately $4,410 as of the beginning of February, with well over $1 million needed to complete the sale.

The land in question lies partly along Keuka Lake and partly along Keuka Inlet. While sometimes described as abandoned land, it remains the property of the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad, which continues to pay taxes, pay insurance, and perform occasional maintenance on it.  The tracks have been taken up, and it may be that the railroad LINE is abandoned – that’s a technical legal process requiring approval by the Department of Transportation, and could become a matter of legal dispute.

The Town of Urbana put in an eminent domain proceeding, which sunsetted after three years. They then instituted a second three-year proceeding. In July voters rejected a $1.6 million bond issue, whereupon the town supervisor declared the issue dead. The P.A.R.K. group offered to try to raise the money privately, and the town agreed to leave the eminent-domain proceeding in place while they tried.

Supervisor Dick Gardiner said that by resolution donations will be accepted until Aug. 29th, although the eminent-domain proceeding could remain in effect for an additional year from that time. Action on this land is separate from action concerning the adjoining property, now occupied by a 240-foot unused warehouse built as a winery in 1919. On that property, a lakefront condominium is proposed.  The DEC recently issued permits on that property, and it is possible that construction will start this year.

Best wishes,
Kirk House, Bath