Open for biking, hiking in Caroga

Caroga Councilman John Glenn and Town Clerk Linda Gilbert work at their table during Wednesday’s Town Board meeting. (The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen)

CAROGA — Wednesday night’s regular monthly Caroga Town Board meeting opened on a positive note with a report by former Councilman Jeremy Manning on the Wheelerville Bike trail.

Manning, who was instrumental in getting funding for the trail as well as overseeing the construction of the trail, stated that with drying out and firming up of the trail, it was now open for biking and hiking.

A lengthy report was made by Matt Van Slyke, a board member of Adirondack Foothills Trails Alliance (AFTA) regarding the draw such a bike trail would have on hikers and bikers to come to the site and bring revenue to the town in the process. Van Slyke responded to a question by Councilman John Glenn that a summer program for bikers at Old Forge showed a parking lot of 600 cars bringing bikers to the site.

The mostly virtual meeting proceeded with a report from Lynne Delesky, who organized the town cleanup day with 30 trash bags of refuse picked up along town roads.

John Delesky, who oversees the Black Fly Control Program reported on his technicians’ efforts and coordinated with Golf Course grounds Manager Steve Steadman as far as New York state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations in using pesticide.

Other issues regarding the municipal golf course included making Jerry Groom III salaried at $720 per week as opposed to the former arrangement of $18 per hour. Groom had indicated he wanted to work more than the 40-hour week and with a salaried position could do so. Utilization of the golf course in the off season for things like cross country skiing was discussed as a positive option.

Groom reported that 96 golf memberships had been purchased thus far this year showing an increase since 2020 when 84 memberships were purchased in the same period of time. New golf carts are expected by the beginning of June and 26 hole sponsorships have been donated.

Steadman reported difficulty in hiring grounds keepers and Councilman Rick Sturgess stated that modifications for the temporary rest rooms were needed with a weeping holding tank and alterations of the men’s and ladies facilities discussed.

Parks, Lakes, Recreation and Tourism Director Gene Centi reported that the lake weed harvesting was ready to proceed with a full complement of divers.

Besides recreation issues, it was announced that tax grievance day would be June 2 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Issues needing further discussion with future reports included heating system, building space adjustments, location of the summer youth recreation program and placement of an area for Fulton County sheriff’s deputies to use as office space when in the area. Also the need for an ethics board as opposed to using the existing Fulton County template for an ethics code prompted questions that needed further discussion.

Whether the former Nathan Littauer Hospital Primary Care space in the town hall should be used for town clerk space or for rental space to another entity was discussed without resolution.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:37 p.m.

By Patricia Older