October 27, 2021

Homer plan would be canoe-, kayak-friendly

Photos by Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Ducks paddle on Durkee Pond on Friday, near where the village of Homer would install a boat launch to let kayakers and canoeists paddle the Tioughnioga River.

It’s probably the biggest hidden gem of Cortland County: canoeing and kayaking the Tioughnioga River, Glenn Reisweber said.

“This is one of the bestkept recreational activities,” said Reisweber, an outdoors enthusiast. “There are phenomenal kayaking and canoeing spots right in our backyard.”

While it will be at least a year before the project gets underway, the village of Homer received $215,625 in state grants announced Dec. 19 to remove a dam between Durkee Park and the Central New York Living History Center to make the area more accessible for kayaking, canoeing or fishing along the river, Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said.

“We need to contact the DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation) to find out how they want us to start moving forward before we do anything at all,” McCabe said.

The money from the Regional Economic Development Council — a competitive grant and aid process — totaled $761 million for the entire state. At $86.2 million, the Central New York region, which includes Cortland, was named a top performer, as was the Southern Tier, which includes Tompkins County, at $88.9 million.

Reisweber, the executive director of Lime Hollow Nature Center, said although he’s never paddled a kayak or canoe in that area of the Tioughnioga, he has gone along the river in the city of Cortland heading toward Yaman Park, near another launch, and loved it.

The village of Homer would add a boat launch for kayaks and canoes on the Tioughnioga River near Durkee Park, allowing people to paddle the river for miles, under a plan that won a state grant.

“We’re really fortunate to be as close as we are to canoeing and kayaking activities in the area,” he said, noting the river is also relatively clean.

The village also received $100,000 to build a salt storage shed at the Department of Public Works at 2 Grove St. Extension. The salt is being stored at the old Agway Building on James Street.

“We hope to have it by the end of the summer,” said Mike Harter, the public works superintendent.

However, McCabe said he’s not sure when the project will start or be completed.

“We are investigating adding solar to the roof to power the DPW complex and that would mean some additional grant applications to submit,” McCabe said.

The dam project must have matching funds, but in-kind services would count toward that amount, he said.