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How to safely connect Williamsville's water mill and Glen Park?

Williamsville's historic water mill and Glen Park are popular destination, especially in warmer months. But there is no safe way to venture between the two contiguous sites.

And the mill's owner is concerned someone will get hurt trying to scale or descend the rocky slope the mill sits on. Teenagers have recording each other jumping from the embankment, said Howard Cadmus, an attorney who operates Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream in the 1811 mill with his wife, Tara.

"My law office is right there, so I watch what goes on," he said. "I get up from my desk multiple times to tell people, 'There's no access to the park. I'm sorry, please don't go that way.' Or I tell kids to get down off the rock wall. I'm like an 80-year-old 40-year-old yelling at kids to get off my lawn, but I just don't want anybody to get hurt."

Police have been asked to patrol the area more often. But Cadmus took his concerns to village officials  this week and got them thinking of ways to provide new connections to Glen Park, especially now that East Spring Street will become more of a public gathering place after $3 million worth of improvements were made including rain gardens, sidewalks, trees, pavers and a "green wall" of geosynthetic fabric to contain soil.

"That project is really suffering," Cadmus said. "They're damaging the green wall. It's an attractive nuisance because from the park you almost want to climb it."

A path from the park's paved Rotary Circle over a sluiceway leading to stairs up to the mill property is seen as the most efficient way to connect the two attractions.

"If there's a clear-cut path to get from that section of Glen Park to the mill property and Spring Street, then everybody will stop climbing up the side of the green wall and trying to climb up the side of the escarpment," said Village Deputy Mayor Daniel O. DeLano.

The village is responsible for the path from the circle over the sluiceway, while Cadmus has a public access easement with village and would be responsible for the stairs, DeLano said.

"We've been trying to figure out a way to get people up over that sluiceway -- the most effective way without spending $100,000 on it," he said.

In the meantime, Cadmus said he plans to install a metal railing along his outdoor seating area "like you would have at the Grand Canyon, to keep kids off of that rock wall."

On the mill's other side, Cadmus and village officials agreed a four-post fence should be installed to deter park goers from taking a shortcut up or down the steep bank. The nearest entrance to Glen Park is a brick pathway off Main Street, adjacent to the creek.

The Village Board in July unanimously approved final sale of the mill, along with two adjacent structures, to the couple, ending an 11-year battle to save it from foreclosure and, ultimately, demolition.

The sale of the water mill coincided with the near completion of the project to re-create Spring Street – a former back alley byway off Main Street – into a village square, where people can gather for community events.

"You can't keep people from Glen Falls and the park," said Cadmus. "You can't keep people from Spring Street. They always want to be there. There's something special about it."

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