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Year-Round Rec Center to be Centerpiece of Revived Veterans Memorial Park

Year-Round Rec Center to be Centerpiece of Revived Veterans Memorial Park October 10, 2023
Architect’s rendering of Veterans Memorial Park’s new multi-purpose waterfront recreation building.
Architect’s rendering of Veterans Memorial Park’s new multi-purpose waterfront recreation building.

The $5 million overhaul of Bolton Landing’s Veterans Memorial Park will be completed in phases, with construction expected to begin in June, 2024.

Thus far, the Town of Bolton has received $2.7 million in grants for the project, most recently, in December, 2022, when it was awarded a $1.7-million Local Waterfront Revitalization Grant.

According to Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover, that grant will cover 75% of the costs of Phase One, the construction of a new year-round building for the town’s recreation and youth programs and the centerpiece of the 2019 Master Plan and of the redesigned and reconfigured park.

A Year-Round, Multi-Purpose Building

Tenee Rehm Casaccio, the new building’s architect, said the facility will replace a 1980s building constructed to house arts and crafts programs, as well as a series of out-buildings.

“Tenee Casaccio and her firm, JMZ Architects, knocked this design out of the park,” said Conover. “It is a functional, modern building.”

Construction of the new building is expected to be completed in June, 2025.

Visually, the multi-purpose building will echo the new Visitors Center in Rogers Park, said Casaccio.

“It’s an architectural language that speaks to the town’s location – the Adirondacks – but with a vocabulary that is not overly rustic. Having all but completed the redesign and renovation of Rogers Park, we have an opportunity here to look at the park on the other side of town.  The two parks are bookends. We’ll draw from what’s been done in Rogers Park and apply those architectural concepts to these building projects,” said Casaccio.

The new building will house the Bolton Recreation Department’s offices as well as space for after-school and summer programs and activities, all of which are currently located in the basement of the town hall.

“As a multi-use building, it will allow us to sponsor many types of programming, including programs for seniors and other groups, which we currently lack the capacity for in the Recreation Department’s space in the Town Hall,” said Conover.  

“I’m excited that we will be able do so much here,” said Michelle Huck, the head of the Recreation Department. “We now have maternity programs and yoga, cardio, fitness and watercolor painting classes at the Conservation Club, and while we may not be able do all of those things in this new building, we can move the majority of them there. We won’t be displaced when someone wants to use the Conservation Club.”

A Refurbished Veterans Memorial

Discussing the project at a September 5, Town Board meeting, the LA Group’s Tim Larsen explained that the building and the surrounding complex will include year-round restrooms, a covered pavilion, a playground and stormwater management systems.  

Improved pedestrian connections to Lake Shore Drive and Lake George “will draw you through the site to the beach and to the lake,” said Tim Larson.

The park will also include a refurbished Veterans Memorial.

According to Paul Terpening, a member of Bolton American Legion Post #961, the refurbished memorial will include vertical panels replicating portions of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC.

A complete, half-sized replica of Maya Lin’s 1982 Memorial Wall traveled to Bolton Landing in 1999 and 2017 and will return in 2025, said Terpening.

Later phases of improvements to the park will include basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, said Supervisor Conover.

Once the park is completed, said Tim Larsen, connections between the lake, the park and downtown Bolton Landing, will be strengthened and renewed.

“The Town has already improved the park’s waterside amenities, building, for example, new docks and a kayak launch, and now we want to encourage boaters to walk through the park and to the hamlet where, we hope, they will patronize local businesses,” said Larsen.

A kayak locker, for instance, could entice a boater to shore, where he could secure his vessel and walk into town, said Larsen.

Improving Bolton’s Recreational Assets

Conover credited the Bolton’s Citizens’ Committee and its consultants, the LA Group and JMZ Architects, for developing a design that incorporated so many community needs, and Josh Westfall, Director of Planning and Zoning, for drafting the successful 2022 Local Waterfront Revitalization Grant application.

“In the past, we would’ve retained consultants to draft and submit a grant application of this size to New York State. With Josh Westfall, we have that capacity in-house,” said Conover.

Conover said the renovation of Rogers Park was also completed in phases and also cost approximately $5 million.

“You start with an idea, and from there, you develop a plan that enables you to assess the costs and identify potential sources of funding. All this requires time, especially if you’re to engage the interest and support of New York State, which we have successfully done,” said Conover, adding that roughly $9 million in state grants has been awarded to Bolton since he took office in 2010.

“We have assets that lend themselves to a positive experience for both residents and visitors, but from time to time, they need to be refreshed,” said Conover. “As our work at Rogers Park shows, we can be very effective at this. The results at Veterans Beach will be equally terrific.”

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