Brown’s Beach opens after 10-year hiatus

Story courtesy of Saratoga Living Magazine and Time Warner News 9
Saturday marked a milestone for the area as Stillwater’s Brown’s Beach reopened to the public at Saratoga Lake after a 10-year absence. It was a long-awaited ribbon-cutting that will provide a 300-foot-wide sandy beach for sunbathing and swimming this summer.

“Amazing,” said Stillwater Town Supervisor Ed Kinowski. “Incredible amounts of work by the residents from everywhere.”

Brown’s Beach was a destination for years and even once offered an amusement park complete with Ferris wheel. The amusement park was demolished in the 1980s, but the beach stayed open to the public until 2007, when an ambitious waterfront resort was pitched for the site.

The project, however, never materialized and the seven-acre property was purchased by the town for $4.1 million in 2013. Town officials had initially hoped to have the beach open last summer, but Mother Nature had other plans.

Wet weather last spring washed away much of the progress made by town volunteers—Kinowski among them—enlisted to help with the project to avoid using taxpayer dollars. Enough progress was made during the summer to allow the town to use the site for several special events during the colder months, including a winter carnival and polar plunge.

“Two and a half years ago, this was a veritable jungle,” said Kinowski. “You couldn’t see from the road out to the water.”

But the Town of Stillwater, GlobalFoundries and residents stepped in to bring Brown’s Beach back to its old luster.

“We’ve recreated something that should have been here for – was here, for over a hundred years,” Kinowski said.

With its private shores and sparse public access points, Saratoga Lake is often overlooked among the recreational assets of the region. But that attitude is now likely to change this summer.

Doc Brown’s Lakeside Tavern and The Nest on Saratoga Lake—a bed and breakfast—opened on the property last year. This summer, Wild Horse PowerSports has contracted with the town to operate a marina adjacent to the beach.

The town has portable toilets on site and erected a temporary pavilion for special events, but will eventually build a permanent structure that will include a changing area and concessions. Kinowski doubts, though, the rudimentary facilities offered by Brown’s Beach will deter visitors.

“You know, it’s great for the Town of Stillwater,” said lifeguard Ryan Bourgeois. “It’s nice to be here. It’s a great location, especially for people during the summer.”

There’s no better place to relax than the beach. But the fact is there wouldn’t be a beach without all those hardworking volunteers. But now, their work is over. And it’s time to relax.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be standing here,” said Kinowski, surrounded by town officials and local volunteers.

It could be the music, it could be the grill. But nothing seems to bring families out for fun, than the sun.

“Saratoga is usually really busy during the summer,’ said Bourgeois. “There’s always something to do. It’s nice to have something else that provides to the community.”