LAKE GEORGE — Shepard Park Beach will soon be fenced in.
The Village Board on Monday approved a contract to erect a 5-foot tall commercial-grade fence around the small beach located in the center of the village to keep swimmers out after hours.
Mayor Robert Blais said the decision to install the fence is the most “logical and safe thing” to protect the village going forward.
“We had to position a peace officer there on many nights just patrolling the beach. He or she would have a tremendous time trying to keep people out of the water,” he said.
Blais said the village has been warned twice by the state’s Department of Health, which regulates beaches, about keeping swimmers out of water when there are no lifeguards on duty.
Several board members, including Raymond Perry, were reluctant to approve the project, citing concerns about the appearance.
“I hate the looks of it,” Perry said.
Siena Fencing Co. was awarded the $20,000 contract.
Three gates will be installed as part of the project, including a 6-foot-wide gate at the entrance of the beach where the handicap ramp is located.
Two 12-foot-wide gates will also be installed farther north to allow easy access for maintenance crews and snowmobilers during the winter.
A portion of the adjacent pier will also be fenced in as a way of keeping people from getting onto the beach when lifeguards are not on duty, said Keith Lanfear, the village's director of public works.
“If we didn’t have it, we would have a lot of ongoing issues that we’ve had in the past,” he said.
Last year, the village was forced to install a temporary fence to regulate the number of people on the beach at one time due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Blais said the fence worked well and made life easier for the lifeguards.
Only Shepard Park Beach will be fenced in. The remainder of the park, including the amphitheater, will remain unobstructed.
Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.