Caroline Murray/Recorder staff Construction workers and volunteers workhard Monday to install the Northville Placid Trail and Waterfront Park archway off Main Street in Northville.
By CAROLINE MURRAY
NORTHVILLE -- Volunteers, construction workers, and a carpenter toiled tirelessly Monday to install a 2,000-pound archway crafted to signify the beginning of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail and the Waterfront Park in the village.
Designed by local artist Patricia Purtell and constructed by carpenter Bill Coffey of William Coffey Studio, the giant archway found a home over the Waterfront Park on Main Street between the Village Scoop and the Timeless Tavern.
The installation came just in time for Northville's first National Trails Day Festival, which is taking place this weekend at the park.
"This is history in the making," village historian Gail Cramer said as she observed the structure's installation.
Cramer was one of many residents who came out of their homes to witness Main Street's latest addition.
During the first attempt to get the archway situated, Coffey said the group tried to install the entire piece as a whole instead of breaking it up into two parts.
"We were a little bit over-enthusiastic," he said.
The group's next effort to assemble the wooden structure as separate pieces proved to be more successful.
It took a dozen men, one crane and several hours to put in place -- but was greeted with cheers and applause when it finally stood vertically.
Coffey said the structure is 22 feet high and 27 feet wide and took him one month to create.
The archway was originally designed solely for Northville's Waterfront Park.
The design changed to include a wooden mountain range on top, and also to feature the Northville-Placid Trail marker, Coffey said.
The idea to include the trail marker came when the trailhead was moved to Waterfront Park this year.
Local real estate broker and village merchant association member Christian Klueg said until recently, hikers would have to walk along Route 30 to get to the start of the trailhead in the town of Benson.
After hiking the trail for the first time with his father last fall, Klueg said he spoke with the state Department of Environmental Conservation about moving the trailhead from its original location in Benson to the village of Northville.
Klueg said the department approved the idea.
A collaboration was born when Klueg approached Northampton Supervisor James Groff, the former mayor, about adding a trail marker to the archway project.
The archway was funded entirely by the village.
Mayor John Spaeth was present for the beginning of the installation. Spaeth said the Waterfront Park archway had been a dream of Groff's for years.
Spaeth said the addition of the trailhead and new archway will attract tourists to the area.
"I just think it is a sign of things to come," Spaeth said. "It will change the village completely."
To inaugurate the trailhead and the new archway, a dedication will take place at Northville's first National Trails Day Festival.
Owner of Northville's Five and Dime store and merchant association member Brian Correll organized the event to be held on Saturday and Sunday. Correll said 83 vendors from all over the capital region will be set up for the affair.
Correll said the band Annie and the Hedonists will hold two concerts, along with music from other local entertainers.
Additionally, Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, will make an appearance to dedicate the trail and archway.
Correll said the National Guard is also loaning a NASCAR simulator.
He expects the event to draw thousands of people. If it is a success, he said another festival will be held next year.
"It will be a wonderful event," he said.