City College students wow town with Greenwood Lake beach plans

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    WARWICK-Their designs were, by all accounts, spectacular, innovative, professional. Seven students from the New York City College of Technology represented their teams Tuesday night, unveiling to the town and the Village of Greenwood Lake what they envision for the Greenwood Lake Waterfront Park. "It was exciting for us to work on this project," said Sean Dinniene, whose building design received top awards for excellence. "We were inspired by the natural site. Our design mimics the mountains and the slope of the trees." As a matter of fact, all of the building models and site plans incorporated the landscape into the design, especially the proximity to the lake and the surrounding mountains. Dinniene's design included a 3,000-square foot main area, a 60-by-30 foot storage area, bath houses and a cafe. Fellow student Michael Minichello, who also won a design excellence award, planned his building based on the requirements of the focus group — the Greenwood Lake Beach Visioning Committee — including a large multi-purpose room, outdoor amphitheater, separate bathhouse facilities close to the water and several outside decks. The building goes with the slope of the land, said Minichello. Lev Khvan's design was innovative, ecologically conservative and very high tech. He was inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Numerous windows would provide sunlight, cutting down on lighting costs during the daytime hours. A large heating tower, which looks more like a design element, would collect solar heat for the cold months. There were many of the same elements in Khvan's design as in the others — the large multi-purpose, bath house and terraces overlooking the lake. But Khvan provided a virtual tour throughout the entire building — through the hallways, into the main meeting rooms, out onto the terraces. Patricia Vallejo's radial design was unique. "This facilitates the views of the lake and mountains," said Vallejo of her circular design. A watchtower rises above the building, providing a view of the entire lake. Niall Heffernan included a boardwalk into his building design, which extends out over the lake with a gazebo at the end of it. His was an octagonal design, which used natural stone and wood to blend into the scenery. "The site designs were very interesting," said Supervisor Michael Sweeton. "They created an image in our minds for what we can achieve with this land. And that, we can begin to work on now." The site plans made good use of the parking area and providd easy access to the property. There was a drop-off area in a loop of road from the entrance and back around. Space was allowed for shuttle buses, which could be provided from points throughout the village because of limited parking. A playground area was planned and an outdoor amphitheater facing the lake was also proposed. This all began two years ago when the town bought an old marina on Greenwood Lake with the hope of making it into a public beach. The beach opened in July 2004 and the town and Village of Greenwood Lake put together the Greenwood Lake Beach Visioning Committee to come up with a plan for the property. One of that committee's members is Emily Cozzi. Cozzi is a village resident and former president of the New York City College of Technology. She knew that several professors at the school, including Professor Tim Maldonado, had worked on different design projects in the past. She had the contacts and, along with Greenwood Lake trustee Barbara J. Moore, got the ball rolling. Maldonado and four other professors came up to the lake in March and incorporated this as a spring semester project. And what a project it became. Jim Gell, who works with Bernadette Castro and the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission, has seen this type of presentation before, but not quite like this. "I'm so blown out of the water by this," said Gell after the presentations. He said that a few years back, when the commission was building the Frank Lautenberg Center in Sterling Forest, they had a presentation by some professional architects. "None were as good as these," he said. What's next? Sweeton said the town and village will set up several informational sessions around town beginning in the fall to display the designs. "We'll get public input and see how we will proceed," he said. "We'll get a consensus and go from there." There are already grant applications filed by the town to help with developing this site, although no cost estimates were given for any of the buildings. "I think this was a great opportunity for the town to create a vision for what that beach can be," said Sweeton. "It really is the prettiest spot on the lake. It has so much potential to enhance the Village of Greenwood Lake."