Walt Lender’s Remarks At The Grand Opening Of The West Brook Conservation Initiative And Festival Commons At Charles R. Wood Park

(Delivered today, May 29, 2019)

For nearly 135 years, the Lake George Association has been working to protect Lake George’s water quality.

LGA Executive Director Walt Lender addresses the crowd at the grand opening of the Charles R. Wood Park Festival Commons and West Brook Conservation Initiative.

I’ve only been at the LGA since 2005, and on Day One, I met with Mayor Blais.

I learned a lot about an amazing opportunity that we had to work with this 12.5-acre parcel – the former Gaslight Village and Charley’s Saloon – that had so many unexplored possibilities.

So we worked together with all of our partners, brought in engineers and experts, brought in attorneys – many attorneys – to help sort through the complex legal contracts to put this stormwater filtering / community space project together.

I think we came up with an effective, reasonable solution that you see here today.

(To see the success that the West Brook Conservation Initiative is having protecting Lake George, click here.)

We have a restored wetland, to filter nutrients and pollutants from stormwater before it gets to the Lake, we have nature trails and an outdoor classroom that you are free to explore with our staff and staff from the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, who will guide walking tours.

We have protected open space that leaves room for events and activities that create economic development.

These things did not come easily. Our boards struggled with the stretch of the investment that we had to make here – that’s a big, big stretch for a lot of small nonprofits and small municipalities.

But our donors came out in support, the foundations that we work with invested, and our then-Congresswoman (now Senator) Kirsten Gillibrand walked the site with us, and was able to find what was probably one of the last earmarks that came out of Washington. I believe Kaitlin Rooney, her district director, is here with us today.

These dedicated donors names are all on a monument on the conservation initiative side, across West Brook, along the walking trail for all to see.

We all felt it was absolutely worth the investment.

From our perspective at the LGA, we can’t think of anything more important than protecting Lake George.

I can’t think of a better legacy to leave to the next generation than this beautiful park.

Thanks to our donors, to our partners here assembled, and to all of you for coming.

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All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.
Lake George Association

Lake George Association