LAKE GEORGE — The Lake George Town Board has approved spending $77,000 for its share of the cost to buy the 317-acre French Mountain parcel to protect it from development.
The Lake George Land Conservancy is buying the property from the McPhillips family for $525,000. It will place conservation easements on the property and then sell it to the towns of Lake George and Queensbury at the discounted price of $134,000.
The towns are splitting the cost and each are spending $10,000 for maintenance.
The land is located off Bloody Pond Road, about halfway up the back side of French Mountain, and faces south to the village with expansive views of the lake. It is near the Warren County Bikeway.
Dickinson said the project will protect the mountainside from development, which could occur despite challenging topography with steep slopes.
Mountain biking trails could be created on the land, Dickinson said. The property abuts Top of the World Golf Course, which has been developing plans for bicycle trials on their property that would connect to this property.
Dickinson mentioned that his nephew recently traveled to British Columbia, where an event was being staged that involved 10 days of mountain biking.
“There’s a lot of potential in Lake George to be a mountain biking hub,” he said.
Dickinson said he suggested allowing camping, but the Lake George Land Conservancy was not receptive, so he dropped that idea.
Lake George would handle the day-to-day maintenance issues such as clearing the parking lots, because Queensbury has more parks to handle, he said.
He has been contacted by organizations interested in donating money and helping with maintenance, he said.
Lake George Land Conservancy Director Jamie Brown said the organization would help maintain the trails, prevent trespassers and fight against invasive species.
He is excited about the opportunity to preserve the space.
“It’s really a partnership,” he said.
Dan Barusch, director of planning and zoning for Lake George, said he is applying for state grants to assist with designing and construction of amenities, such as an outdoor classroom with interpretative signs as well as a seating and viewing area, because of the proximity to Lake George Elementary School.
Board member Vinnie Crocitto asked whether there would be restrooms.
Barusch said they could be added, but that would increase the responsibilities for the maintenance crew.
Barusch said the town has some money available, because it is due to receive almost $400,000 in reimbursement from the state for money spent on the Gateway Project on Route 9.
“I think it’s a really good deal,” said board member Marisa Muratori.
The land will be a legacy for the next generation, she said. People do not realize the other side of the lake is all in private hands. Without preservation, there would be development pressure on this property, she said.
“Once you create a park, people use it,” she said. “People always end up using these parks and enjoying them.”
The Queensbury Town Board has not acted on the purchase at a meeting yet, but has previously indicated its support.