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Mechanicville gains grant to build kayak launch

Thursday, November 13, 2008
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— A kayak boat launch is likely coming to Mechanicville, courtesy of a $13,000 matching grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

The launch site will be on the Hudson River behind City Hall, at a concrete dock where the Mechanicville Terminal was built almost a century ago. It is now used in summer by pleasure boats cruising the river. They can tie up and spend the night there for free, with water, electricity and sewage disposal provided. Boaters can climb up ladders to the dock, and some walk into downtown Mechanicville in search of restaurants or stores.

About a decade ago, Public Works Commissioner Jack Messore said, a canoe launch was installed in the southern part of the terminal, near the mouth of the Anthony Kill. It consists of a wide concrete staircase, going down to a curb at the river.

So why don’t kayakers just use the canoe launch? Messore, who did not submit the grant application, referred that question to the city’s mayor and Saratoga County supervisor, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

But Mark Castiglione, acting executive director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway, said: “Low-profile docks allow kayakers to get in and out of their kayaks easily. Those traveling along the water trail with fully loaded kayaks also appreciate a low dock when they lift their boat out of the water.”

That was confirmed by Sally Halsey, co-owner of The Boat House in Niskayuna. Getting out of a kayak can be tough, Halsey said, “especially for the aging population.”

So, a platform that helps someone roll out of the boat would be a plus. Boaters near her store get onto the Mohawk River from a rowing club’s floating docks, she said.

Castiglione said Mechanicville is looking at the low-profile “Connectadock,” or at a gangway that would connect to the “Technidock” floating dock.

He said the state is creating a Hudson River Water Trail that now has 86 public access sites from Saratoga County to Manhattan. Through the state’s canal system and connected waterways, boaters can go from Mechanicville to New York City, Quebec or to the Great Lakes.

Castiglione said the total estimated cost of the kayak launch is $18,204, with the city responsible for coming up with the additional cost over $13,000. The city also could count labor costs, such as for Department of Public Works employees to install the kayak launch, as part of its matching funds.

Mechanicville was one of 10 communities receiving $96,535 in Greenway awards announced last week. Another was the town of Nassau in Rensselaer County, which got $5,000 to develop updated zoning laws to conform to its comprehensive plan.

 
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