The job description for town supervisor doesn’t normally include mowing grass, but that’s what Charlie Eckelmann found himself doing the other day over at Copes Corner Park in the hamlet of Gilbertsville.
Like an abandoned pet rescued from the local humane society, Copes Corner Park, acquired this year by the town of Butternuts, is getting the kind of attention from its new owner it hadn’t received in years.
For decades, the park had served as Otsego County’s only public campground. But two torrential storms over the past decade took their toll on the park, and county officials grew fatigued with the costs of making the repairs and maintaining the green space.
Enter Eckelmann, the town supervisor of Butternuts, who saw the park on the banks of the Butternut Creek as a natural resource his community of 1,750 people could use.
The county transferred the deed to the park to the town, and now Eckelmann and others are working to get it in shape for the upcoming summer season.
This summer, the park can be used as a picnic area free of charge and three pavilions can be rented out at nominal charge for family reunions and other special occasions. But the campground won’t be in operation until next year, said Eckelmann.
“There is just too little time to put everything in place for the camping,” Eckelmann said.
He said a chlorination system for public water must still be installed and approved by the state Department of Health.
The town has authorized spending up to $3,000 to make improvements to Copes Corner, an expense that Eckelmann said will be defrayed by the rental of the pavilions. The smaller of the three pavilions can be rented for $40 per day while the two larger ones go for $60.
No longer will people be charged for parking at Copes Corner, he said, noting: “We didn’t want to be nickel-and-diming the people.”