May 21, 2019

An honor moored to his legacy

Town to dedicate Skaneateles Lake boat launch for drowning victim

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Brian Coon walks along the docks of the boat launch at Andrew M. Fuller Park in Scott Saturday. The boat launch will be dedicated to his father, Alfred Coon, who lived across from the launch and oversaw its operations. Alfred Coon died on Feb. 4 while ice fishing on Skaneatles Lake.

Alfred Coon would sit near his porch in the summer — just across from the Scott town boat launch on Skaneateles Lake. When he heard cars clatter along the dirt road, he’d race to Andrew M. Fuller Park.

“Everyone knew it was him coming to collect the fees,” his son Brian Coon said.

People recognized his dad’s truck right away because his license plate read “walleye.”

The boat launch is being dedicated to Alfred Coon, who died Feb. 4 after falling through the ice while ice fishing on Skaneateles Lake.

“It’s an honor,” Brian Coon said. “Dad loved volunteering his efforts here.”

Scott Supervisor Kevin Fitch and town board member Gerald Contento, Jr., said Alfred Coon was frequently out on the lake and always willing to help someone.

“He could be home having lunch and see someone needing help and be there in two minutes, and he was,” Contento said.

Mike Ferro of Cortland would often stop to talk to Coon as he was launching his boat, usually about fishing.

“If you needed something, he would help you in any way,” Ferro said. “A couple times, my car wouldn’t start and he was just always there. I’m going to miss seeing him up there this summer.”

Coon grew instrumental over the years in raising funds for the park by collecting fees for the boat launch — $19,000 in three years, Fitch said. Previously the town accepted donations and did not get much.

The money collected from the boat launch goes toward park maintenance, Fitch said.

The town plans to continue improvements to the town park. Scott received a $75,000 grant from the state Dormitory Authority arranged by state Sen. James Seward (R-Milford) to build bathrooms to replace portable bathrooms. A boat-washing station to help keep invasive species from being carried into the lake is also planned.

A trail is planned with the help of volunteers, Fitch said.

Students from the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in Syracuse helped to plan the improvements.

Federal protected wetlands in the park are necessitate the bathroooms to protect the environment, Fitch said.

Dedicating the boat launch when the weather warms is the perfect way to remember Coon, who was a very good friend of former town board member Andrew Fuller, for whom the park is named, Fitch said.

“I thought it would be fitting for these two friends to have something for each other,” he said.

“It was the least we could do. Alfred really loved that lake.”

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