FULTON, NY – The Lake Neatahwanta dredging project received the attention of state government Tuesday (Sep. 2) when New York State Senator Patty Ritchie stopped by to visit and accept the warm appreciation of the community for finding the money to get the lake cleanup underway.
After providing the city of Fulton and town of Granby with $200,000 in grant money last year to fund their efforts to bring the lake back to a healthy condition to allow safe recreation, the senator announced last week that another $200,000 was coming our way.
Oswego County Today asked the senator where the additional money came from and if there would be any more forthcoming to help keep lake clean-up moving forward.
“This came as a result of the invasive species portion of the state budget,” Ritchie said. “I will continue to work to secure additional funds for the lake.”
She added that rejuvenating Lake Neatahwanta has been something Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward has kept in the forefront of her efforts since shortly after she was elected. “He told me how important it was, but there was a pretty big price tag attached,” she said.
“Success here will bring more people to the area,” Ritchie said, noting that in addition to restoring a long lost beach for the community to enjoy, an increase of tourism will also contribute positively to the local economy.
“It’s great to see that, on top of what they’re working with right now, they’re going to be able to double the project,” Ritchie said.
Fulton Community Revitalization Corp. President Joe Fiumara said that in addition to the state money and some significant community business sponsors, the FCRC has also found a way for individual community members to donate to the clean-up effort.
The dredging contract was set for the first 10,000 cubic yards of sediment to be dredged, with an cost of an additional $12.89 per cubic yard if there was enough time in the season and money available to have the dredge company remove even more sludge while they were here.
“Our fundraiser is called ‘One Yard At A Time for $12.89,'” Fiumara said. “We’ve had a wonderful response so far.”
Because the FCRC is a community-wide non-profit organization and the designated recipient of the state grant money, it has set up a separate accountability specifically for the Lake Neatahwanta donations.
“There is a separate budget line for the lake cleanup and those funds have nothing to do with any of the other activities of the FCRC,” Fiumara said. “All the expenses for this lake, there is no administrative cost. Every dollar goes directly into the lake.”
During the public session of Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Fulton resident Dan Merlino thanked the community for its support but noted that there was a lot of work left to do.
“We’re going to keep this going as a community,” Merlino said. “We’re hoping that everybody will contribute to get one more yard of dredging done at $12.89 a yard.”
With that, the Fulton resident presented a check for $12.89 from his family, and another check from another neighbor.
Council President Dan Knopp, also an FCRC member, thanked Merlino for getting the ball rolling and said anyone who wants to contribute to the One Yard At A Time For $12.89 can send a check payable to the FCRC.
“Our campaigns will continue as far as signature cards, bar-b-ques and t-Shirts,” Knopp added.
Woodward noted that the material left after the sediment has been dredged and dewatered is saleable.
“We’re also going to be looking at marketing that,” the mayor said. Those funds would also be returned to the cleanup.
Merlino said anyone who wishes to contribute to the lake dredging fund can send a check to the FCRC, 125 W Broadway, Fulton, NY 13069.
He noted that all contributions to FCRC specifically for the Lake Neatahwanta cleanup should be noted as such.