Broadalbin prepares to open beach

Shown are four of the six lifeguards who will be working for the Broadalbin Town Beach starting on July 1. From the left is Matthew Boyle, Samantha Simon, Sydney Swedick and Molly Lake. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

BROADALBIN — For the first time since 2010, the town beach will be open starting on July 1.

Supervisor Sheila Perry made the announcement during the town board’s meeting on Tuesday that she received a phone call from the Department of Environmental Conservation Attorney Scott Abrahamson on Monday stating that copies of a user agreement between the town and DEC were in the mail.

“The beach is a go, which having put so much effort in for two years, I’m very happy to be able to say that,” Perry said.

Perry also introduced the town beach’s head lifeguard, Jonathan Jennings, and his staff of six certified lifeguards who will work at the beach this summer. Those six lifeguards include Katie McCumber, Molly Lake, Matthew Boyle, Sydney Swedick, Samantha Simon and Daniel Dylong.

The lifeguards will have the responsibility to maintain a safe swimming environment by enforcing the rules and regulations of the beach, and reporting any issues, Perry said.

The town beach closed in 2010 for financial and operational reasons. Although the beach remained closed, several people were recreating there illegally which concerned surrounding property owners who reported several serious criminal occurrences. In 2017, DEC blocked off the site and any trespassers were arrested.

Perry said in August 2017 while she was a candidate for town supervisor, a petition containing 267 valid signatures had been given to the previous town board supporting a referendum which was voted on in November 2017 that stated, “Shall the Town of Broadalbin initiate discussion with the DEC to explore renewing operation of the beach adjacent to the DEC Boat Launch in said Town.”

Since then, the current board has been working with DEC to re-establish the beach.

Perry said the town first began working with Robert Smullen, who advocated for the town from the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, until he left his job to run for state assembly. The town then began working directly with DEC Regional Director Robert Stegman.

“Without going into a long description of the hurdles and success and disappointments along the way, I will say without the initial guidance of Robert Smullen, and later the immense assistance and encouragement from Fulton County Planning Director Scott Henze, and the perseverance of Town Board liaison David Bogardus, I don’t believe this project could have been brought to this happy conclusion,” Perry said. “We thank Director [Robert] Stegeman and Robert Fiorentino of the DEC for coming to this agreement.”

The town plans to narrow the actual bathing beach from 300 feet to 175 feet.

“A narrower beach will be easier to staff and safer to patrol for our lifeguards,” Perry said. “The DEC has asked that 10 spaces be designated for boaters using the beach lot, those spaces will be farthest from the shore; the remaining 50 spaces will be for beach parking only.”

The town will coordinate with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to add their patrol to the site and to enforce no parking on Lakeview Road in the area of the launch entrance. A guard will be stationed at the entrance of the beach parking lot during all hours of operation to collect parking fees assessed by the town and control proper use of the lot.

Gates will be installed to close off beach access when not in operation, and signage will be placed stating hours of operation.

Portable toilet facility units will be in place, as well as a hand-washing station.

The beach will be open from July 1 to Aug. 31 with hours of operation from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; weather permitting.

The beach will be open to residents, non-residents and tourists visiting the area.

Unlike the past where a variable fee was charged, access to the beach will be free for everyone, but the town will charge a fee for parking.

“We hope that our efforts will assist in the preservation of this natural asset within the borders of our municipality and enhance the visitor experience,” Perry said.

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