CROWN POINT — Crown Point Supervisor Charles Harrington wants his town to have a public beach again.
The one that had been located at the Crown Point State Historic site was closed several years ago, and he says it's time to reopen it.
At a recent meeting, he told Essex County Board of Supervisors members that many more people are coming to Crown Point State Park, which includes the Historic Site and the State Campground across the road.
"Since the new bridge has opened, that has been a destination site; it doesn't matter what the temperature is, there are always people parked to walk the bridge, going over to the fort and what have you."
Fort St. Frederick and Fort Crown Point, French and British 18th-century installations, are located at the Historic Site.
Harrington (R-Crown Point) said swimming used to be provided at the Historic Site, and then one year, the bathhouse was gone and the beach was closed.
"And swimming was prohibited, period. The reason given was the site was of such historical importance that we can't allow swimming there."
That was the only swimming access in Crown Point.
He said a beach on either the campground side or Historic Site side would be fine.
"I would like the people in charge of the ultimate decisions to realize this would be preferable," Harrington said. "I would like to study it. That would be in the best interest of the residents of Crown Point."
'A LONG SHOT'
Harrington, who recently got the Board of Supervisors to endorse reopening the beach, said he wants the state to operate it. The board has also called for creation of a Champlain Bridge Bi-State Park that would include Crown Point State Historic site and the campground, along with the Chimney Point Historic Site in Vermont.
The Champlain Bridge connects Crown Point with Addison, Vt.
Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said he didn't want to discourage Harrington, but getting the beach back could be a battle.
"Coming from a community with two public beaches, a town beach and a village beach, I can tell you that regulations for beaches today, public beaches, are pretty stringent and can get expensive because of manning it with the lifeguards you have to have and so on.
"I would say you have a long shot."
Harrington said he knows that but will continue working on the issue.
"I can deal with that as long as I have the support of the supervisors, and pressure can be put on the state to have them investigate this."
A representative for the Public Affairs Bureau of the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which operates the Historic Site, said her agency would have no comment on Harrington's proposal.
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