Chadwick Lake has been a part of Jim Presutti’s life for a long time. In 1974, he worked in the park as a skate guard. He worked renting out the boats. He spent his high school years minding the fields for the recreation department.
For Presutti the lake is the home of many fond memories. In fact, his first date with his wife was spent in Chadwick Lake.
In college, Presutti continued his interest in green spaces like Chadwick Lake. He received a degree in forestry.
“This trail around the lake that people walk every day,” said Presutti. “My senior project in forestry school was to design this trail. So all of this is coming back to me. It’s kind of a no brainer.”
“I’ve been in my own business [owner of Hudson Valley Horticultural Services] for 20 years and it [commissioner of parks, recreation, and conservation] was an opportunity for me to get back to where I love to be.”
As soon as he saw the position of commissioner of parks, recreation, and conservation was open again, he knew he had to apply.
Presutti was officially appointed to the position by the town council on April 13. Although he hasn’t been in the position for long, Presutti has already got much done and plans to get more done.
“This park is a beautiful park, there’s so much potential here,” said Presutti. “We’ve really only scratched the surface of what can be done here.”
Some of Presutti’s plans include a natural playground for children to play on. The playground will be similar to Grasshopper Grove in Cornwall, where there’s rocks and logs for children to play on, rather than metal and plastic.
The playground will be “something to get them back to nature,” said Presutti.
Presutti also plans on putting in interpretive trails for children, where they can touch and feel things rather than just look at a picture.
“We’ve cut ten trails off of the main trail,” said Presutti, “already down to the water. So, fishermen can walk all the way around the lake now; fish off the shore and different areas of the lake.”
Presutti plans on adding interpretive walks to the park. He will also add a butterfly house on one side of the lake.
“We’re going to do things as we can. It’s a strange year with everything,” said Presutti. “We’re doing what we can that doesn’t cost a lot of money right now. By cutting the trails, we’re not spending a lot of money doing that.”
Presutti is also in the process of designing a bike trail that will be four to five miles long. He’s also working on designing a passive park on a piece of property that the town recently purchased on the Hudson River.
He’s currently “just seeing what areas in the town where we can do more.”
“I want people to realize that we have to continue to keep our natural resources,” said Presutti.
Although summer camps had to be canceled, Presutti said the town is doing a small slope of summer programming.
In the future, Presutti will be teaching some classes on tree indemnification, gardening, composting, and related topics.
He hopes to “just to continue to educate people as to taking care of their natural resources, that we have right here,” said Presutti. “It’s [Chadwick Lake] a hidden gem.”
“Stay tuned,” said Presutti. “There’s things coming up as we get them done.”