Like other municipalities throughout Fulton County, the Village of Northville, the county’s gem on the shore of the Great Sacandaga Lake, has begun the process of some serious revitalization initiatives. In 2018, Northville received a grant as part of New York State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).
Through the LWRP, the state works with communities to redevelop underutilized waterfront areas, improve water quality, and promote public waterfront access. In Northville, this will initially take the form of a walkway across the spillway on South Main Street between Hunter Lake and the Great Sacandaga Lake. After that, village officials are investigating the possibility of dredging Hunter Lake to remove years of silt buildup which has significantly reduced the water level in the lake.
Village officials decided to apply for the LWRP grant after completing a 20-year comprehensive plan for the village. “There are a number of projects that were identified in the comprehensive plan,” said John Spaeth, who was serving as mayor at the time of application and now serves as the project administrator for the LWRP. “The concept of the LWRP got mentioned, and we thought that it might be a good starting place to get some of those projects highlighted at the state level.”
That is exactly what Northville has accomplished since receiving the first grant. In March 2019, the village formed a Waterfront Advisory Committee made up of community members and stakeholders. It went on to hold a public meeting in July of that year at the Northville Central School’s library. Here, residents had an opportunity to comment on the proposed projects and make suggestions about other possible projects for the village. “We had some real positive input from the public sessions,” Spaeth said.
Recommendations included those of the village’s fifth-grade classes. “We were real proud of that input—that we actually got the school kids involved,” Spaeth said. “Some of the things they mentioned ended up in the overall LWRP.”
Fueled by community enthusiasm for the proposals, the committee has launched the beginning planning and investigatory phases of the spillway and dredging projects, respectively. It received a grant for $135,000 to do the engineering plans for the spillway, which it contracted to Saratoga Springs-based ELAN Planning, Design & Landscape Architecture PLLC. “This is strictly for the engineering and designing the walkway; there is no construction included in this grant,” Spaeth said. If things go as planned, the village will be able to apply for a construction grant in the next round of grant funding.
The revitalization of the waterfront will be a years-long one because even when the village receives grant funding, it is required to supply 25 percent of the money required for a given project. A project like the dredging could cost $10 to $12 million. For this reason, the village has started out with a feasibility study of dredging Hunter Lake, for which it received an LWRP grant of $72,000. Whether or not it would continue with this project has not been determined at this time.
Spaeth said that when a municipality identifies a project in the LWRP, that lets New York State know that the project is important to the community and gives the village more visibility for anchor projects and possibly a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant in the future.