BELMONT — More than dozen members of the senior class at Belmont High School joined members of American Legion's Charles Kilborn Post 58 on the banks above the Tioga River yesterday to open the view from the pavilion, which will be built later this year.
The community service day was the second inspired by Dan Clary, who is completing his first year as principal of the high school. Last year the students cleared an adjacent stretch of riverbank behind the Belmont Mill.
Woody Fogg of the American Legion applauded the partnership. "It gives the kids a sense of ownership," he said, "and builds bridges between the town and the school." He said that the work was undertaken in partnership with the Belmont Village Revitalization Committee.
Fogg said that the more mature pine trees will be left for shade while the riverbank is stripped of its undergrowth to provide a view of the river. Several chainsaws were used to cut the trees into manageable lengths while students, working on a steep incline beneath a warm sun, formed a chain, passing limbs and branches up the slope to the parking lot where staff from the Department of Public Works operated a chipper.
The Tioga pavilion and riverwalk will overlook the river. The project is being made possible by the donation of some 20 acres along the railroad bed by Dick and Betty Persons, which matched a $89,000 grant from the Land and Conservation Fund of the National Park Service.
"This shows what a town can do with a lot of volunteers," said Ken Knowlton.