Lake Front Buffer Strip spruced up

Lake Front Buffer
Strip Spruced Up

Take a leisurely stroll down to Lake Front Park in Cooperstown and take in the beauty of the Buffer Strip Garden along the shore of Otsego Lake.

Over 15 years ago, the Otsego Lake Association helped to introduce the concept of the lakeside buffer strip to the Otsego Lake community.

“This Buffer Strip was created in 2005. It’s a conservation garden that buffers the water that comes from the village into the lake so it doesn’t pollute. It also helps keep the shoreline stable.,” said Suzy Kingsley, past president of the Lake and Valley Garden Club. “It’s more than just a pretty garden; it’s got a function and it’s done its job over the years.”

The Milford BOCES students built the boardwalk and started a lot of the willow plants. They come every spring to help open the garden.

“The students are great, we love working side-by-side with them. We put the boardwalk in so it would be handicapped accessible and also for strollers, “ Ms. Kingsley said. “We made it five feet wide with a turnaround so wheelchairs could access it.”

It was hard getting volunteers to help with maintenance during the pandemic. “We didn’t have enough help so it got overgrown. We almost had to start over. We decided to invest the time and money to revitalize it this year. We’re not done yet; we need more money and more help to finish the project,” said Elaine Bresee, current president of the club.

The original buffer strip received a very special award from the Garden Club of America in 2008. “That allowed us to finish the garden to a point and helped us to build the boardwalk and do all of the plantings. It also helped us with signage which is very important because it explains what the buffer strip is. It’s truly a conservation garden that buffers the water that comes from the village into the lake,” Ms. Kingsley said.

But the award didn’t include any money for maintenance. “That’s why we are doing so much outreach to groups and the community, we want to keep this a healthy and vital part of our village but it takes time and money,” Ms. Bresee said.

This garden has always been on the village property but the garden club has maintained it. “We can’t do that anymore so we are asking other community groups to help in the maintenance and the funding,” said Ms. Bresee.

“The Village of Cooperstown has helped a lot with the maintenance,” Ms. Kingsley said. “They are very positive and enthusiastic, especially when the kids start coming.”

“We have received so many compliments on this revised planting arrangement and the garden club has really led the way from the beginning on this,” Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh said. “This new plan is working so well.”

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