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January 3, 2013

Three Mile Point Park now solar powered

Staff report
Cooperstown Crier

---- — The caretaker’s quarters at Three Mile Point Park has become even more energy efficient with the completed installation of its new photovoltaic system. The system went on line in mid-December and has been efficiently supplying all electrical needs, according to a media release from village Trustee Ellen Tillapaugh, chairwoman of the Parks Board.

The solar-powered system was installed by Revolution Solar LLC, a company owned and operated by Jim Doherty and Mary Jo Cronin.

“The village was very well served by Revolution Solar,” Tillapaugh said in the release. “They came in on budget and completed the work promptly.”

The village was informed in late August that their access to electrical power supplied by the adjacent land owner, Lou Hager, would no longer be available after January first. Estimates were received from three solar installation companies, however Revolution Solar was the only one that could ensure completion by the deadline and complete the system within the allotted budget. 

Their proposal was accepted by the board of trustees at its October meeting and Revolution Solar began work on the project.

During the winter months, the photovoltaic system operates only the fans associated with the clivus multrum, composting toilet system. However, in the summer months, with increased solar intensity, the system will supply the electrical needs for the park and for the caretaker who is in residence from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The battery storage system will allow for storage of power for several days so even an overcast day or two will not be a concern, according to Tillapaugh.

Next year’s parks budget will also include funding for a propane generator compatible with the solar energy system, which can provide auxiliary back up if it is ever needed to meet any increased electrical demands in the summer.

The caretaker building at Three Mile was constructed with a strong emphasis on being environmentally friendly, and that construction included a clivus multrum system. The clivus multrum is a self-contained, waterless, chemical free, toilet system based on organic decomposition.

Construction of the caretaker building began in the fall of 1991 and was completed for the summer season in 1992. Funding for the building was secured from a state Bond Act when Pamela Washburn was a trustee and chaired the Parks Board. Tillapaugh was chair of the Friends of the Parks at the time.

The Friends of the Parks also received a Department of Environmental Conservation grant to complete a green space buffer strip and tree planting along the shore of the village-owned and operated park. Before that revised landscaping, the point was a gravel parking lot up to the shoreline, according to Tillapaugh.

Three Mile Point Park is the oldest of the village’s six parks. The point was owned by Judge William Cooper and remained in the Cooper family for several generations, although residents enjoyed access to the area ever since the 1820s. In 1871, Three Mile Point was leased by the Village Improvement Society for use by the village as a park. Contributions from residents allowed the village to purchase the point in 1899, from Judge Cooper’s great-grandson, William Cooper.