LOWVILLE — An old, informal Lewis County campground just outside of the Adirondack Park will be completely overhauled with some new additions and improvements to become official.
Singing Water Park on Fish Creek Road between Lyons Falls and Glenfield in the town of Greig, was established in 1957 with a large picnic area, overnight camping and a small wooden bath house.
While the park has seen upkeep over the years, the facilities have not been to a sufficient standard to be acknowledged by the Department of Health as an official camp site.
The new bathhouse project that has been slowly moving forward since 2013, when county Department of Recreation, Forestry and Parks Director Jackie Mahoney first stepped into her current role, will bring the park up to a level to make it official.
“It needed work,” Mrs. Mahoney said, “We’re changing the scope ... (adding) connecting the well and doing the septic (to the original plan.)”
The site will get a new multi-stall bath house with shower and toilet areas that are ADA compliant, the new well, the new septic system and tent campsites.
Some maintenance and beautification work is also being done to the foot and car bridges that lead from the road to the park and to the camping area.
A number of tall, straight, but dying red pine trees that very few needles left stood throughout the camping area, but Mrs. Mahoney said they had to come down for safety purposes. She said long-time park users who were upset by the trees being pulled down and changes being made to the park have been vocal to her about their disapproval, but ultimately, when they heard the whole plan and reasons the trees had to go they seemed to understand.
“It was a safety decision, they had to go, but now that all the soft woods are gone, it makes room for more hard woods,” she reasoned.
A call went out for bids on the project in June, but when all of the bids were at least three times the $55,000 originally budgeted for the bathhouse. The decision was made to put the project on hold to make room for a larger budget while also anticipating a decrease in materials costs as the economy recovers from pandemic shortages.
“At first it was supposed to be my guys who do the trails that (the board) thought should build this when it was just a bathhouse, but it’s more than that now ... and that’s not my expertise either,” she said, noting that the new engineer on the project has been very helpful fleshing out the requirements to build.
According to the Capital Improvement Plan presentation given to the Board of Legislators by County Manager Ryan M. Piche, the installation of a handicap-friendly facility was “the county’s commitment from the 2019 Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.”
Mr. Piche and Mrs. Mahoney both said the intention was to find grant money and to potentially partner with Jefferson Community College or BOCES programs to build the structure to defray costs.
Neither of those options have come to fruition, according to Mrs. Mahoney, and with bids ranging between $160,000 and $300,000 for the scope of work, pausing the project made the most sense.
A new call for bids will go out in December with the goal of having the project completed by the end of the construction season next year.
The park is available for day use but is not open to motorized vehicles. Anyone using the county trail system running along Fish Creek Road in front of the campground must park their ATVs or UTVs in the parking lot and walk over a bridge into the area.
Mrs. Mahoney said discussions are underway as to whether the park should be kept for foot traffic only.
“But that’s not my decision, that’s up to the legislators.”