CHASE MILLS — Boosted by a state grant, a work group has been brainstorming ways to make Lake St. Lawrence a year-round tourist destination that draws people to the waterfront communities of Massena, Louisville and Waddington.
The planning process is being funded by a $24,999 NY Sea grant and state Department of Environmental Conservation award that was received by the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
It is among nine community-based projects in the state that will receive a portion of $200,000 in grant money.
County Chamber of Commerce Director Brooke E. Rouse said the planning process involves identifying what assets already exist in the Lake St. Lawrence area that includes Massena, Louisville and Waddington.
The next step involves creating a written inter-municipal plan that identifies tourism and recreational opportunities.
The protected wildlife areas that exist along the St. Lawrence River shoreline creates the potential to attract birders, photographers and artists, she said.
Guided walks, trails for equestrians and cycling paths are possibilities.
“One of the constant things that comes up is that there’s a lot of protected wildlife along the shoreline,” Ms. Rouse said. “We’re trying to find ways to leverage that and see if there’s a niche market for birders, photographers or artists who might enjoy that protected wildlife.”
The region includes Wilson Hill, Robert Moses State Park, Coles Creek State Park and land owned by the New York Power Authority.
The work group started meeting about a month ago and includes Nancy Foster and Kelli Ramsey of Louisville, Jim Murphy of Massena, Jim Thew and Mark Scott of Waddington. County chamber representatives are Ms. Rouse and Jonnie Claeys.
Ideas from the public will be gathered during a community input session scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 22 at the In-Law Brewing Co., 5868 County Route 14, Chase Mills.
Boards will be set up with questions where people can respond by writing down their thoughts. Residents and others those who enjoy Lake St. Lawrence are encouraged to be a part of the process.
Lake St. Lawrence is an artificial lake that was created by flooding on July 1, 1958, after dams and locks were created in the St. Lawrence River for the hydroelectric project.
Ms. Rouse said the plan should be finished by the end of the year and will be designed to help the communities, individually, and as partners, move their tourism initiatives forward. “The plan, once adopted by the three communities, will be a resource for business and community development and be a reference for those seeking private and public funds for various tourism related initiatives,” she said.