It is possibly one of the most stunning views in all of the Adirondacks – the vista looking south over Schroon Lake -- from the grassy hill behind the Schroon Town Beach.
At the bottom of the hill there’s the white sand beach with its Adirondack chairs and in the distance layers of misty, dream-like blue and green mountains.
To the far left of the Park is a children’s playground, where since the year 2000, kids have swung, slid and enjoyed a good, old fashioned time playing outside. Two favorites, that seem to be always in use, are a duck and frog kids get to rock back and forth on.
Now there’s a grass roots community effort to make the playground experience even better -- by adding new and handicapped accessible pieces of equipment to the existing area -- with what supporters say comes with a minimal cost to the Town of Schroon.
“We are very excited about the possibility of a new playground,” Shawn Baker, a one of the supporters of the project told Schroon Laker today.
"We hope to be adding a new swing set, replacing seats on an existing swing set, adding a dome climber and adding a slide. All of the new equipment will be handicap accessible."
The idea for new playground equipment came about when Sharon Piper, from the Chamber of Commerce, discovered Essex County had $5,000 in grant money available under their Healthy Spaces program.
Sharon learned that Stewart's Ice Cream would match up to $5,000 if locals raised that amount of money.
"Add the grant money, and that's potentially a $15,000 budget -- without a penny coming from the Town for the equipment," Sharon told Schroon Laker Wednesday.
Sharon has had offers from a large, local company who will donate the labor involved to install the new equipment.
Shawn says everyone he's spoken with loves the idea. “It's great for families with small kids and teens. Parents can be at the playground with their younger children, while their older kids can be at the beach. Not only will locals benefit, but all of our summer visitors as well".
While folks Shawn and Sharon have spoken with have been supportive of the improvements -- there's been little support from the Town Board, which must pass a resolution in order for the project to move forward.
"Among the reasons (for lack of support) is that we've been told that there's no room for the new equipment, but the design we have come up works within the existing footprint of the current playground. We have also been told that there's a great playground at the Schroon Lake Central School. But that's only available after 3pm (and weekends)”.
Shawn says the school playground option is not good for families, who want both the beach and the playground in the same location.
Town Supervisor Mike Marnell acknowledges the lack of support from the Town Board, citing numerous reasons why the project should not go ahead.
"The foot print is too small for all of equipment, it's too close to the public restrooms, there's a chain link fence nearby and it’s too close to the hill, that would require putting a fence up.
"You need a large, flat surface for this. You need a lot of prep work, a good design. There's upkeep with mulch. This is just not the place".
Marnell said he would be in favor of the playground being moved closer to ice skating rink area -- across Leland Road -- further from the Town Park.
The supporters of the project say any issues the town has can be worked out. “We are going to have a professional come out and measure the space for the equipment – we are not just relying on ourselves," said Shawn.
All of these issues will be addressed next Monday night at the regular Town Board Meeting, where Shawn hopes dozens of supporters will make the case why the project should move forward.
"We are asking our supporters to do three things. Sign a petition of support, call the Town secretary and say they support the project and show up to Monday's Town Board Meeting.