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The Skaneateles town board looks over the plans to replace the bathrooms at Austin Park during a regular meeting Monday night.

SKANEATELES — The town of Skaneateles voted to move forward and explore options to replace the bathrooms at Austin Park, housed in a 1960 building last updated in 1993, during a regular meeting Monday night.

"It's just outlived its usefulness," said Gene Laforte, the labor crew leader for the town’s Parks Department. “We get a lot of favorable comments on the park, we don't get any favorable comments on the bathroom facilities.”

Supervisor Janet Aaron said the building “has several deficiencies,” including not being handicap accessible, an electrical panel being inside the women’s stall area and all the infrastructure such as piping being housed inside the cement walls. The plumbing has seen better days, Laforte added, and water comes up through the floor – which is cracked.

The town took over ownership of Austin Park from the village of Skaneateles December 2017, Aaron said, and “the condition of that (bathroom) facility right now is kind of an embarrassment." The town began working toward getting a new bathroom, that also included a storage area and first aid room, in August 2016 with help of an $80,000 grant secured with the help of former state Sen. John DeFrancisco’s office.

The town board at that time didn’t go forward with the project because the original quotes for a new building came in at more than $300,000, said David Badami, who was on the town board at that time.

"It is needed, there's no question about it," Badami said. "The question is what are we willing to spend to get what we need?"

Aaron said that after meeting with Janice Miller, an architect who did the previous architectural drawings for a new bathroom building, the town had two main ways it could move forward. It could either pay around $2,400 for Miller to come up with three options to modify the existing building, or it could pay Miller a flat $3,600 to revise the most recent plans to replace the building.

"It's a waste of money to try (to modify)," Laforte said, “by the time you did all the upgrades, you might as well tear the walls down.”

The town board unanimously voted to pay Miller $3,600 to revise the plans. This flat fee includes revising the architectural plan, site plan, providing details for adding a roof that would connect the existing pavilion to the new bathroom building, on-site weekly construction management meetings, updating bid packets, meeting with contractors before they submit bids and more.

In other news:

The town of Skaneateles voted to approve the replacement of the Mandana boat launch ramp.

The ramp, next to the Skaneateles Marina at 1938 W. Lake Road, is deteriorating and hasn’t had repairs done since 1995, Aaron said.

"The cement pad there is deteriorating, it's not long enough. So a lot of boats are getting stuck in the mud," Aaron said. She added that also stirs up everything in the lake, so the town wants to improve that situation and make it safer for people putting their boats in the water.

The overall cost of the project is not to exceed $34,500, and will be covered by a $50,000 grant that was secured last May with the help of DeFrancisco’s office. The project will also include road repairs, such as Lacy Road which leads right to the boat ramp.

If the winter remains mild, the new ramp may be able to get done over the winter, Aaron said, otherwise it will get done in the fall.

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Staff writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or megan.ehrhart@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.

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Towns Reporter