A new foot bridge connects Clutes Dry Dock with the 1825 Erie Canal towpath. It was constructed by Leo Coons, an Eagle Scout Candidate, and his Scout Troop 246. The wood being used is native larch milled by the Amish community. You see full 2 inch planking and the natural grain of the wood. It is an impressive, beautiful piece of art and a welcome addition to the recreational assets!
While coordinating approvals, finalizing the design, and organizing fund raising efforts Leo Coons was trying to find a source for lumber.
Enter Lindsay Bezio. “We all know him as Mr. Lindsay, from Lindsey’s Old School Barbershop,” says Leo Coons. “He helped me get the lumber. Town staff referred me to him, telling me that he purchases lumber from the Amish and they could fit my design dimensions. He introduced me to the Amish. We gave him the amounts of lumber that we needed, and he gave it to the Amish, and passed the bill along to us. We then visited the Amish to confirm the order, and then again to pick it up. Essentially, he was my correspondent with the Amish, he gave me their information and brokered the deal.”
Coons goes on to say that a great deal of assistance was provided by our contractor George Brenner, III of Gee Bee Enterprises, LLC in terms of transporting the lumber, managing the setting of the beams and overseeing the first day of build. Also, Greg Haug was his project leader and as a professional engineer he also supported the design, gathering of materials and all build days.
A big part of the project was fund raising. One facet was collecting bottle returns during a period when few facilities were accepting bottle returns because of the COVID19 health concerns. The Coons household was “full” of beverage containers for which there were few places to redeem them. Leo Coons also made a convincing presentation of his plans to civic groups which, at the time, were all meeting virtually.
He obtained generous donations from from the Shepherd’s Hey Farm (Larry Syzdek and Ruth Olmsted), the Town Of Clifton Park, the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition, and individual donations from Eric and Barbara Hamilton, Robert Owens, the Estate of Cynthia Oliver, Patricia Opar, Campion Gleason, and Jack and Barbara Coons.
Clutes Dry Dock is located near the center of the Mohawk Towpath Byway’s twenty-six mile length. Stop and admire this new addition to one of our more important historic features. Cross over the bridge and take a right going west. In a short distance you will see the vegetation open on right. With imagination you can see the mule ahead pulling one of the barges carrying a piece of America’s destiny on the Erie Canal, the waterway west.
Leo Coons (on the left) works with one of his fellow Scouts to secure the top member of the railing, one of the finishing touches to the structure.