By Mindy MacLaren
I attended last night’s public informational hearing on the Shadow Pines Master Plan, designed by BME Associates, and presented by landscape architect, Andrew Spencer. The Town Hall auditorium was full of interested residents and four of the five Town Board members were present. While those who spoke or asked questions after the Plan’s presentation had some individual concerns, most, including me, expressed their concern over the proposal for a municipal “rec center”. A rec center would include, according to Supervisor LaFountain, a definite structure, playgrounds, athletic courts, and parking for 120 cars. While the Shadow Pines Land Use Advisory Committee explicitly stated in their report submitted in April, 2019, that the property should NOT be used for a recreation/community center, the Town instructed BME to add it in anyway, with the Supervisor stating that municipal use of Shadow Pines had always been a possibility. However, the overwhelming vote that took place in February of 2018 was to keep the property as open space and to save Penfield’s tangible history in the form of the Clark House. It was stated a number of times last evening that this master plan is “conceptual” and subject to change with new input, but it is obvious that residents need to stay engaged on this issue. The comments I made at last night meeting are below.
“My concern with this plan relates mostly to the proposed Rec Center. It seems like an overreach to put it at Shadow Pines considering that, in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan, Rothfuss Park was identified as the location for this kind of building. Parking exists as does an entrance driveway to a circular drop-off area that seems to be just waiting for a structure to be built there, and there already are TWO playgrounds there. The Shadow Pines Land Use Advisory Committee explicitly recommended against this as well. Any new building of this type should go to Rothfuss Park.”
For a town that likes to pride itself on being one of “planned progress”, then it should follow the plan it found good enough to set forth in its own Comprehensive Plan!
“There already are structures at Shadow Pines-namely the Clark House and its associated buildings-that could and should be used for this purpose. I’d prefer to see my tax dollars go to the renovation of the Clark House for use as a rec center than toward a new structure on the same general property. Residents not only voted to ‘save Shadow Pines’, they also voted to save the Clark House, too. Keeping the Clark House as a functional part of Shadow Pines keeps the character of the area and makes this Master Plan more cohesive. I would like to suggest the creation of a similar committee to that of the Moratorium Committee and the Shadow Pines Land Use Advisory Committee to determine the viability of using the Clark House as a rec center. It could be made up of Town Board and Historic Preservation Board members, experts in preservation, and interested residents. I, for one, would be interested in serving on that kind of committee. I will say, that I am really proud of Penfield and what we’ve done with this property, and like my friends here tonight said, that I am pretty much happy with this proposal, but I would caution that ‘less is more’ in this case. Thank you.”
If you have comments, questions, or concerns about this proposal, you can email or call the Supervisor with them for the next 2 weeks.