County discusses potential dock at Dwyer Park

(Photo Source: Unsplash).

The Cortland County Legislature will hold a formal discussion on installing a dock at Dwyer Park in August, following preliminary talks at Tuesday’s Highway Committee meeting.

In its early discussion, the committee estimated $100,000 could be the most the county could dedicate to the project. County Highway Superintendent Charles Sudbrink said that amount could go as far as to install a 24-by-60 foot dock at the park.

“You can get a pretty substantial dock for the $100,000 we were talking about. You could get a gazebo or pavilion at the end of it,” he said. Sudbrink noted that the 24-by-60 measurements would be “large for most docks.” 

Legislators agreed to revisit the conversation in August, after the Legislature takes a month off from committee and legislative meetings in July. 

“It’s a good investment. It makes the park more of a draw,” said Legislator Joseph Nauseef (R-LD-12). “It would bring people to the park for lots of different reasons.”

Other legislators questioned the investment.

“A dock would be nice, but if you are gonna spend ‘X’ number of dollars, is that the best bang for our buck?,” Legislator Christopher Newell (R-LD-11) said.

Part of the conversation veered into the funding for the project. Using the American Rescue Plan (ARP) leftover funds was floated by legislators, but quickly tempered down by legislator Cathy Bischoff (D-LD-3).  

“We have been circling around the leftover ARP money,” Bischoff said. Bischoff has been advocating for having a conversation about opening up the ARP funds for another round of applications from organizations and municipalities in the county. “We need to take the conversation back to the Finance and Administration Committee. People should be invited to sit in on proposals just like this one. Let’s have a process that is open to everyone.”

Legislator Richard Stock (D-LD-6) proposed potentially including the project into the budget for the highway department.

The dock could bring Dwyer Park back to its former glory, according to some legislators. Sudbrink deviated from the narrative.

“At the end of the day, everyone talks about the way Dwyer Park used to be. It will not be that way again. You gotta admit it to yourself,” he said. “In the 1920s, you had people from the City of Cortland who would take the trolley up to the park. That’d be their activity for the weekend. Now you have kids playing video games and sports complexes all over Central New York. It is great to improve the park, but it is not going to be like it was.” 

The committee also discussed adding a fee to use Little York Lake’s boat launch. 

“I think overall it would decrease the use the lake gets,” Sudbrink said.

The boat launch fee has been discussed several times in the last year as a way to pay for Little York Lake cleanup and revitalization efforts. The Little York Lake Preservation Society is currently in charge of those efforts, and recently approved a special taxing district to fund preservation projects.

“We are going to help fund the (Preservation Society),” Nauseef said. “Haven’t we done a lot? And then they put a special tax district on the lake. How far can we go?”

The conversation did not yield any resolutions or motions from the committee.