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Letters

April 11, 2013

Our Readers' Opinions

Response to dock renters

Regarding the April 4 letter from Margaret McGown et al, I understand why the letter’s authors are disappointed with the decision of Otsego Land Trust to discontinue renting private dock space. All concerned should understand that we did not take any actions without careful consideration and ultimate approval by our Board of Directors.

A few pertinent facts that explain OLT’s actions were omitted from the April 4 letter.

The docks were over 50 percent destroyed by a natural act last winter. We investigated building a replacement dock that could be removed for winter to avoid a repetition of similar destruction and discovered the cost would approach $50,000.

When we looked at dock rental fees net of annual costs in comparison to the cost of a new dock, we concluded that it would take OLT seven to nine years to recoup its investment. At a time when we are trying to raise funds to make Brookwood a safe and accessible place for the whole community, the Board felt that cash resources for the property are better put to other uses. These include maintenance, public access initiatives and educational programming.

The dock renters appealed our decision. We replied that if they were willing to do the work required, with standard conditions such as obtaining permits and insurance, we would agree to continue the rental program for another year. Perhaps they would be prepared to rebuild the old docks. We did not know, but decided to offer them the opportunity. They chose not to accept these conditions.

Regarding insurance proceeds, OLT as the property owner insures the property including the docks and pays all costs for insurance. The damage award was received and immediately deposited in a restricted account for the exclusive use of Brookwood Point.

Brookwood Point is a beautiful 22-acre property on Otsego Lake that, with help from the community, could be a wonderful public asset. Last year, OLT obtained a $188,000 Scenic Byways Grant from the Federal Highway Administration to fund the initial costs of correcting safety, traffic and signage deficiencies. A matching $62,000 is needed to access these grant funds. We hope that the community understands the value in supporting this worthy project. If OLT is successful in raising sufficient community support, Brookwood Point will provide public access to and use of this special place and conserve one of the few natural lake front areas on the western shore of Otsego Lake.

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