"Sodus Town Groundskeeper"
Please Note: Camp Beechwood currently has restricted acces. Please contact our Groundskeeper Salvatore Vittozzi with any questions. Camp Beechwood in Sodus
Things are moving at Beechwood! I recently met with the State Engineer, the Wayne County Water & Sewer Authority and RG&E to finalize plans for the new water line and electric cable that will run from Lake Road to the north end of Beechwood’s main entrance. This undertaking will be covered by a state grant in the amount of $73,000.00 that Ora Rothfus (Wayne County Planning) and I applied for a couple years ago. The installation of surveillance cameras will also be part of the project. With the help of our Sodus Town Highway Department, we expect installation to be completed sometime in the next month.
Immediately following the criminal act of arson that destroyed the Park’s old mess hall last fall, I met with the State representatives to set forth a plan for cleanup and possible rebuild of the site. We walked the entire park and identified other buildings/areas that were either a liability or deemed “beyond repair”. It was agreed that the State would come back this year to clear the debris from the mess hall and remove the additional targeted structures. Until this effort could be completed, the State and the Town agreed to keep the Park closed.
The good news is that on March 20th, the State dispatched equipment to the Park and has begun clearing rubble. The plan at this point is to clean up the burn site first, then go after the other areas of concern. My guess is that a portion of this work will be put on hold until the ground is dry enough to allow large equipment in and out without causing unnecessary damage to the roads. We anticipate re-opening the Park for public use as soon as it’s deemed safe and secure... hopefully this spring.
I signed the first Cooperative Operation and Maintenance Agreement for Camp Beechwood with the Commissioner of NYS Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation in 2010. This agreement has worked out very well for both the Town and the State through the years. Relying on volunteers and very limited funds, we’ve been able to keep the Park reasonably well maintained, free and open to the public year ‘round. State Parks has been a great partner and come in during times of need to help with tree removal, etc. For the most part however, the Town has gone it alone. That said, the time has come when additional State involvement is necessary if we are to keep Beechwood both safe and viable. I’ll be meeting with NYS Parks Representative very soon to review a newly crafted proposal for an upgraded management plan that will include much needed funding for future improvements. This will then be scrutinized by the Town Board and I… adding suggestions and possible modifications. With a newly ratified agreement and with the current work in motion, I’m very optimistic that Beechwood’s future is secure.
I will be retiring at the end of this term (I’ll elaborate at a later date) and it is my sincere hope that future Supervisors and Town Boards will continue to preserve and protect this very unique acreage.
Steven LeRoy, Supervisor