The town of Bloton is considering buying
the Norowal Marina to preserve public access to the lake
for the future.
Town, state may buy marina
Bolton | Purchase will ensure the public has access
to Lake George
Published on 11/25/2004
By ANNE KUMAR
BOLTON -- The Town Board wants to buy a local marina
to ensure public access to Lake George, and is looking
to the state to help foot the $4.5 million bill.
The proposal, sent out to various state agencies and
representatives last week, calls for the town and the
state to jointly purchase the 4.34-acre Norowal Marina.
The marina is owned by Walter "Buzz" Lamb Jr. and has
been on the market for about a year.
He is selling the business so he can retire, but said he
wants it to continue as a marina.
"My hope is that someone will come in an operate it as a
marina as I did for 31 years and my dad did for 28
years," he said.
The changing demographics on and around Lake George
prompted board members to look into purchasing the
property, officials said. Town Supervisor Alexander
Gabriels III said board members are concerned that if
the marina is sold to a private developer, the public
could lose valuable access to the lake.
"The board is concerned that if it were to be totally
developed in private hands, there is not enough capacity
for the surrounding marinas to pick up the traffic,"
Their concerns may not be far off. Lamb said developers
have expressed interested in the property for building
single family homes or condominiums. But that's not what
he's looking for. He supports the town's proposal.
"Once that goes away, it creates an enormous void," he
said. "I feel it's critical to the livelihood of the
town of Bolton. How can people access the lake if the
The state comes into play, Gabriels said, because the
marina is a main access point to more than 300 camping
sites on islands in the lake. Taking away that access
could cut off easy access to the camp sites, he said.
"This is a state lake, it should be able to be used by
all of the citizens of New York state," he said.
The proposal calls for the town to pay $2 million and
the state to pay the remaining 2.5 million.
Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, said she plans to
meet with the Town Board to learn more about the
project. She said the request is not unusual.
"I need to learn more about the project and see what
kind of support there is in the community," she said.
"Certainly public access to the lake is important."
Several state agencies could be tapped for funding
including the state Department of Environmental
Conservation, the Secretary of State's office and the
Office of General Services, Little said.
Gabriels said he has not heard from any state agencies,
but is not discouraged because of the scale of the
In August, the Town Board hired Elan Planning & Design
Inc. of Saratoga Springs to do a feasibility study on
If the town were to buy the property, it could convert
existing buildings for town recreation department
operations and administration, for general storage and
to house the town fire-rescue boat, according to the
The town would continue to operate the marina as a
launching site, but would not maintain the boat
franchise and repair service, Gabriels said. The marina
would not, however, become a free launching site,
according to the study.
The town would have to bond for its share of the
purchase price, but according to the study, the slimmed
down marina operation would generate more than $100,000
in annual income that could be used to pay off debt
incurred by the town.
Gabriels said the idea is in its early stages and town
officials would need to look at the pros and cons of the
project more closely during the second phase. But first
the town must get backing from the state.
"If the state is not willing to partner, the town can't
go it alone," he said.