Lundy still pursuing Thompson Park townhousesWatertown Daily Times, N.Y. — Craig Fox Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.
March 14--WATERTOWN -- Local developer Michael E. Lundy hasn't given up on building townhouses in Thompson Park.
In an email to Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. on Monday, Mr. Lundy wrote that the townhouse project is "far from dead" and he's "looking at alternate plans."
Two weeks ago, Mr. Lundy proposed a complex deal to buy nine holes from the Watertown Golf Club and, after a land swap, build 32 townhouses in a wooded section of Thompson Park that the city owns.
But a century-old deed prohibits Mr. Lundy from building the townhouses near the Gotham Street entrance, so he must consider a site on the golf course.
The project is not allowed under the terms in a deed dated Feb. 6, 1917, because that site is in the original boundaries of Thompson Park that John C. Thompson donated to the city.
The golf course was added later to the park and allows for development.
According to the email, Mr. Lundy intends to meet again with council members "in the near future" about his "alternate plans." He said that his presentation two weeks ago was meant as a way to open up discussions about his proposal.
Councilman Cody J. Horbacz said Tuesday he expected that the developer would still be pursuing it.
"I'm not surprised a smart guy like him would have a backup plan," Councilman Horbacz said. "If Plan A didn't work, I'd assume he would have a Plan B."
Mr. Lundy indicated that the townhouse project "is simply one part of a much bigger plan" for the golf course.
Mr. Lundy proposed trading about 63 acres that the golf club owns for 15 wooded acres of city-owned parkland just southeast of the Gotham Street entrance, where he intended to build the townhouses in phases.
Mr. Lundy would purchase holes one through six and 16 to 18 and then trade them for the 15 acres. The city owns the other nine holes.
Before making his pitch two weeks ago, he told City Attorney Robert J. Slye that the townhouses would be built near the clubhouse, spurring speculation that he might want to come back and pursue that location.
While he did not say exactly what his future plans might entail, Mr. Lundy wrote that he opposes a proposed site for a planned dog park in Thompson Park, citing it would interfere with the golf course.
The location that is being discussed is across from the scenic lookout point and in proximity of the golf course.
"The atmosphere of a fenced-in dog arena adjacent to what is supposed to be a quiet golf setting is not conducive to our plans for the Watertown Golf Club," he wrote.
After years of debate, council members are poised to vote for creating a dog park in the park. Dorsey Street resident Scott S.G. Gates has lobbied for a dog park there for 11 years and it appears he finally has enough votes for it to happen.
Saying the city should consider "a private, out-of-the-way location," Mr. Lundy wrote the proposed site "will have a significant negative impact on my plans to develop the golf course." He could not be reached for further comment.
Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero, who has been working with Mr. Gates on the dog park since taking office in January, said a vote will probably happen in April and spell out that organizers will have raise money for it.
Councilman Horbacz believes an adequate location can be found within the 355-acre park.
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