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Poison Ivy Point

Lakefront parks in the Village of Lansing may be accessible if plans actually come to fruition.  Mayor Donald Hartill said Monday that the Village is in negotiations with the Bolton Point  Water Commission to purchase a plot of land together that will accommodate both a new pump station for the water commission and a lakefront park for the Village.  The final piece will be obtaining access for park visitors to cross the railroad tracks that legally separate the existing park, Poison Ivy Point, and the mainland.

"There is a lot for sale just to the north of that pump station, and it has 250 feet of frontage on the lake," Hartill said. "It also has a steep slope and a more or less flat spot on top where you could build a house.  (General Manager Steve Riddle) and I have been discussing how we could go forward with this by a combination of Bolton Point and the Village buying the parcel, subdivide off the piece that Bolton Point needs for the plant.  One possibility is for us to sell the portion you could build on and retain the steep slope and the lake frontage as a village park."

Hartill said that Bolton Point is installing a new pipe from its East Shore Drive facility to Cayuga Lake, which will require a new pump station in addition to the existing pump station, just north of Poison Ivy Point.  If the waste commission and the Village purchase the property, Hartill said Bolton Point would subdivide a portion for their new pump station and chemical storage facility, with the rest going to the Village.  The Village would then sell the flat portion, presumably for a private home, while keeping the slope and creating a new park on the lakefront.

"That would add to what we have at Poison Ivy Point," he said. "It helps out Bolton Point to solve their problem, and probably has some real advantages to the Village."

Hartill has been talking about negotiating the right of way for hikers to cross the railroad tracks with the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  He has long surmised that for a price the Village could obtain the rights for park access to Poison Ivy Point, which currently is only legally accessible by boat.  Hartill says railroad officials are more receptive to the idea now than they have been in the past, so he is optimistic they will allow access.

Poison Ivy PointPoison Ivy Point juts into Cayuga Lake, with a small, but attractive lagoon similar to the one in TV's Gilligan's Island (the SS Minnow has been humorously Photoshopped into this image, but the lagoon, to the right of the boat, is real).

Poison Ivy Point juts into Cayuga Lake, with a small, but attractive lagoon that brings to mind the lagoon in TV's Gilligan's Island.  At the moment it is overgrown, and while there has been some talk in the past about cleaning it up and adding walking paths, it has remained in its natural state.  In a new update to the Village Greenway Plan Lynn Leopold recommends leaving it "in as natural a state as possible" on the grounds that it is a perfect resting place for migrating wood ducks; that the Village has parks including the new Marion Hartill Park, but few natural areas; and without legal access across the tracks there is no point in developing it. 

Leopold wrote, "For the present, the land has been left in a semi-natural state, allowing for the growth of some mature trees, natural development of some wetlands, and successional growth of shoreline and forest plants. Ecosystems such as this on the Cayuga Lake shore are increasingly rare, owing to shoreline development."

The Village Trustees have not made any determination yet on how it would be used as a park.  Access is via a steep road with hairpin turns that is generally not accessible by any but Village and Bolton Point vehicles, but is used as a walking path.  If the railroad grants right of way to the parks, you turn south to get to Poison Ivy Point, then trek across an overgrown swampy area that takes you to the northern portion of the point, after which you walk along the lakefront to get to the lagoon.  If the land purchase takes place and a new park is created, you would turn to the north before crossing the tracks to access it.

Hartill said he will update the Trustees on the progress of the negotiations.

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