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Grant will increase public access at historic Cooperstown site

By ANNA MEILER

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The community helped Otsego Land Trust match 25 percent of a federal grant to renovate Brookwood Point, a historic and beautiful part of Cooperstown.

"These formal gardens have been here for over 100 years. This garden house has been here for decades," said Virginia Kennedy, executive director of Otsego Land Trust.

"It's one of the last few natural environments that is right on the lake," said Patricia Szarpa, Executive Director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce.

But, for the most part, the public hasn't been able to enjoy it.

"We have these safety and access concerns. Once these things are fixed we can be very progressive and saying come and use this site," said Kennedy.

With the grant matched, the Otsego Land Trust now has access to a total of $250,000 to renovate the area to make it safer and increase public access.

"The wooden bridge, the access in and off the road, signage, things that will keep people safe," said Kennedy.

The executive director said the grant supports their mission to protect land and clean water. Otsego Lake is significant to millions of people all the way down to the Chesapeake Bay.

"If this lake is clean for Cooperstown residents then it's clean for the river, right? And then if people are understanding the idea of water and connection and how we're all together in this, we can push that message all the way down to the bay. We're talking about drinking water for a lot, a lot of people," said Kennedy.

And they said the educational value is priceless.

"Once this site is renovated though we can really go out to the schools, we can go out to other community organizations and we can say this amazing site is available to you. You can bring a class of school kids here and walk with our garden specialist through the garden to learn about garden plants you can do history work here looking at the structures on the property, like this garden house and all of the things in this garden house, you can do wetlands work here," said Kennedy.

"This is one of those amazing cooperative success projects where everyone can get really excited about how their money was spent," she said.

The design plans will start to be hammered out on Oct. 18.

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