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Albany County Partners with Local Organizations to Open Lawson Lake Park to County Residents

6/28/2013 2:07:00 PM

Summer camp is back at Lawson Lake and the grounds are open to the public.

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr. and Albany County District Attorney David Soares joined forces to make renovations and clean up the park to make it accessible to the public and partner with a number of organizations to host day camps to kids throughout the summer.

“I said in my State of the County address in March that Lawson Lake is a jewel of Albany County and should be used by our families and children but it needed work,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “By working with the DA and the Sheriff, we are able to open free children’s day camps operated by St. Catherine’s Center for Children, The Pride Center of the Capital Region and the Boys and Girls Club of Albany and this is just the beginning.”

The immediate renovations and developments include rehabilitation of existing buildings and improvements such as air conditioning, landscaping, increased Sheriff’s patrols, and new trail markings done by the Albany County Sheriff Explorers. These renovations were done in part by the Boys and Girls Club of Albany and the Inmate Workforce provided by Albany County.

“Lawson Lake will provide a safe environment for all Albany County kids to enjoy,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr. “Our Sheriff Explorers Unit, which is made up of teenagers, marked all the trails and our Inmate workforce provided hundreds of hours of labor to clean and prepare the camp for the kids. This truly has been a synergetic effort. “

“With the recent renovations to Lawson Lake, the youth of Albany County will have the opportunity to enjoy their summer break in a safe environment that will allow them to form lasting memories with their friends and family,” said Albany County District Attorney David Soares. “Community outreach activities such as this are an integral part of law enforcement’s goal of steering youth away from crime. I want to thank Executive McCoy, Sheriff Apple and all of our community partners for sharing our goal to invest in the youth of Albany County.”

CDTA has stepped up to work with the Albany County Department of Children, Youth and Families to provide transportation to and from the park. The original reason camps suspended use of Lawson Lake was due to the transportation costs. This effort to provide discount transportation restores Lawson Lake Park to its status as a public resource available to everyone throughout the County.

“Our goal is to make Lawson Lake accessible for all kids,” continued McCoy. “Carm Basile and CDTA have stepped up again and partnered with county to make this happen.”

“We’re pleased to work with the County Executive to offer our youth easy access to Lawson Lake camp to ensure a fulfilling summertime experience,” said CEO CDTA Carm Basile. “Our Summer Fun pass is an affordable transportation option for young people, 17 and under, to help them to get to fun destinations like Camp Lawson, the mall, Grafton Park, Saratoga Springs as well as to summer jobs all over the Capital Region.”

“I commend the County Executive, District Attorney, Sheriff and all those who worked to provide another wonderful opportunity for recreation for the people of Albany County,” said Chairman of the Albany County Legislature Shawn Morse.

"I commend County Executive McCoy for taking the first steps in availing this pristine property to all residents of Albany County,” Christine Benedict, Minority Leader of the Albany County Legislature. “Together with the establishment of the Lawson Lake Advisory Board, we can all assist in keeping this ecologically sensitive property as we see it today. Making this park available to everyone is just another example of Dan McCoy caring for the residents of Albany County. Keeping open spaces in Albany County in their natural habitat, while allowing our residents to enjoy the sheer natural beauty is a valuable asset for this community."

"Summer camping not only provides healthy recreation, but also offers growth, learning, and positive peer development opportunities for children, said Bill Gettman, Executive Director,

St. Catherine's Center for Children. “We applaud the energy and leadership of Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and DCYF Commissioner Poulin and the magnificent staff at the Boys and Girls Club. The children and youth served by St Catherine’s Center will experience a once in a lifetime moment during the summer camp season.”

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany is very excited to partner with Albany County this year to bring summer day camp experiences back to kids from the City of Albany,” said Lisa Hunter, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany. “Sixty children from the Boys & Girls Clubs will be attending camp at Lawson Lake for 7 weeks during the summer where they will go hiking, canoeing, fishing, participate in arts and crafts, sports activities and educational programs. We are grateful to Albany County for their commitment and all of the efforts that they have put forth to make sure this opportunity was available to our kids this year.”

“The Pride Center is honored to partner with Albany County to launch a camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and their allies,” said Curran Streett, Executive Director, The Pride Center of the Capital Region. “This is a transformative opportunity, and a fantastic way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pride Center’s Youth program.”

“This is an opportunity for children and their families to enjoy the fabulous resources of Lawson Lake that so many residents of Albany County have in the past,” said Albany County Legislator Mary Lou B. Connolly. “This is the result of the wonderful work done in partnership with County Executive McCoy, Sheriff Apple, DA Soares and the community.”

"This is a great initiative for the people of Albany County, in particular for our children,” said Albany County Legislator Gary Domalewicz. “This lake is one of our great natural resources. To have it just sitting there, unused and faltering into degradation was a shame. It will be used by people from all over the county to recreate and enjoy its natural beauty."

Future plans include remediation of the upper camp buildings and grounds, further developing such amenities as plumbing and upgrading aging infrastructure.

Office of the Albany County Executive

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Albany County ExecutiveDaniel P. McCoy