State Forces the End of Sharp’s Pond

Sharp’s Pond, on the city’s east side behind Byrne Dairy, was man-made over 100 years ago for the production of ice in a time before refrigeration.

Fulton's century-old Sharp's Pond and dam. Photo: Randy Pellis

by Randy Pellis

FULTON, May 22, 2019 — A state order to fix or demolish a 100-year-old dam forced the Fulton Common Council Tuesday to choose the much less expensive demolition option and say goodbye to a beautiful, century-old pond in a rustic city park.

Sharp’s Pond, on the city’s east side behind Byrne Dairy, was man-made more than 100 years ago for the production of ice in a time before refrigeration. The cement dam that turned the natural stream that runs through that land into the pond it became is cracking, and is, in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s opinion, likely to fail, flooding over Route 3, according to Fulton’s Fifth Ward Common Councilor Dennis Merlino, in whose ward the pond and dam lie.

Fixing the dam would cost $1 million, according to Merlino. Demolishing it will cost $150,000.

A number of councilmen expressed that it was with deep regret they voted to go with the less expensive option. Merlino said he had bought his house 20 years ago to be close to that pond and park.

“We had no options,” Merlino said. “The dam declined year after year. A lot of people are sad to see it go. A lot of people are very vocal that it shouldn’t go. It’s the idea of it that’s hard to let go of, and sometimes that is difficult, and it breaks my heart because I bought my house so I could go there.”

The city will issue bonds to fund the project, and the work will soon go out to bid.

Most of the rest of Tuesday night’s meeting centered on bonding for future projects.

Those projects include:

$65,000 to hire experts to appraise the value of real property in the city for tax purposes;

$350,000 for the purchase of maintenance equipment;

$30,000 for the installation of fencing at the DPW garage;

$1 million for the reconstruction of various roads;

and, $2,405,000 for improvements at the wastewater treatment plant and pump station.

Prior to the meeting, during the public session, mayoral hopeful Ethan Parkhurst spoke in favor of bonding for improvements at the wastewater treatment plant and pump station and for the demolition of the dam at Sharp’s Pond. But, he was not in favor of the remainder of the evening’s bonding as it stood. He recommended public hearings on the remaining $1,445,000 worth of bonding projects.

First Ward Councilman Thomas Kenyon defended those projects. “We’re talking about roads that really need it,” he said of the $1 million road repair project.

Councilman Merlino also defended the projects that were chosen for bonding. “This list that we’re bonding on,” he said, “months and months ago, all through public hearings, we started out with a wish list that was pages long, and we whittled it down, we hammered it out in very heated discussions that went on for months and months and months. And this is what it’s whittled down to as the priorities that we really have come to agreement on. There were so many things taken off the list, and these are the ones we came to, these are the ones we really need.”

All of the evening’s bonding resolutions were passed unanimously.

One final note: the annual Memorial Day Parade will be held Saturday starting on East Broadway at 10 a.m. Lineup is at 9:30 a.m. The parade will cross the upper bridge (Route 3) and end at the War Memorial.



  1. Sorry to see that it will be gone soon. Nothing lasts forever. I swam there every summer when I was young about 68 years ago. Want to visit before the demolition.

  2. Great job to all of you, you wasted the money on other things instead of taking care of this. Its our history but obviously none of you care. All of you need to be replaced this November

  3. It should of been fixed a long time ago,I used to go there swimming when I was young,

  4. Fished there,ice skated there,When my fishing line was new I could catch a bicycle.That use to be a nice place to go back in the day,Sorry to see it go.

  5. Sad the city can’t put up a fight to stop this!!! What can the citizens do? What is happening to our community. It’s in a sad state of affairs.

  6. Is there ANY way to fight this? What about the wildlife that will be affected there? As for the 1 million dollars to fix it..can we see some numbers as to why it would cost this? There’s got to be some other solution. City of Fulton has no problem taking our money or our memories. Truly heartwrenching.

  7. The Fall.

    The pools, the lake, the parks, the ponds,
    the fishing, the camping
    the recreation
    the summer activities
    The ……

    The Fall

  8. The state did not put an end to it. Look into how long the city had known about the issue there. We need to fight to save this. Call the Mayor and have him explain to you. Its all lies about it being the state.

  9. Would it be possible for a committee of volunteers look into donations to save the dam and the pond. Maybe some businesses would also volunteer their time to save this. If you look back in the history of Fulton, the dam and pond was a big part of the ice industry. In fact, the building there, was known as the ice house which stored the ice year around. If anyone is interested in saving this, let us start now. Contact me through my Email. Thank you. [email protected]

  10. Its a lie the state is not forcing it closed. Call the mayors office and get the truth. We are all being lied to. Let’s stop this now. The 5th ward councilman is not telling the truth he voted to demolish it. He needs to go in November.

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