VIS recognizes businesses, homeowners

The 2017 VIS “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” award winners are pictured, from left: Dick and Cathy Mose, Kiki Sarko and Eric Munley (t­he Waterhole), Trevor Beaudette and Beth Devaney (Community Bank), Yvonne Parrish, Andrea Hill, Susan Mueller (Adirondack Motel), and Kathy Fadden and Beth Hogle. (Photo provided)

SARANAC LAKE — The Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake celebrated its end of season with an open house in the Cantwell Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library on Oct. 18.

President Randall Swanson shared highlights of the nonprofit organization’s year. VIS volunteer park managers were recognized, and everyone got a “sneak peak” of the new VIS park signs — a much-needed improvement to VIS-owned neighborhood parks — to be installed next spring. The new signs were designed by volunteer member Kathy Ford and created by Laura’s Custom Artworks in Lake Placid.

Swanson reminded the crowd of VIS’s connection to the famed Olmsted Brothers Landscape Firm. In 1909, the Olmsted Plan for the Improvement of Saranac Lake was presented to the village board with the recommendation that “small open spaces, scattered about a village … furnish the opportunity for people to rest outdoors … such small bits of park are very real and important elements in making for civic beauty and the joy of living.” In 1910, 10 women banned together and formed the Village Improvement Society with the intention of seeing this plan through to fruition. One hundred and seven years later, VIS is still enhancing the natural beauty of the community.

VIS partners with many organizations and individuals, including the Saranac Lake Community Development Board, the village of Saranac Lake, the Downtown Advisory Board, the Aktion Club and Roger Pratt. All were recognized for their assistance during the year.

VIS member Donna Walsh spoke about the society’s outreach work with the Saranac Lake Middle School and read a letter of thanks from one of this year’s Department of Environmental Conservation campership scholarship recipients. VIS presents a DEC environmental campership scholarship to two middle school students each year. Walsh also had the privilege of honoring Aktion Club members with an appreciation of service award for all that the club does to help VIS with its mission.

The highlight of the celebration was the presentation of the annual “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” awards, presented to local businesses and homeowners in Saranac Lake who maintained beautiful flower displays or gardens this year for the enjoyment of all passersby.

Businesses recognized and presented with an award certificate included Adirondack Motel, Community Bank on Broadway, Dockery Chiropractic, Piece by Piece Quilt Studio, Post Office Pharmacy and the Waterhole. Homeowners honored for their gardening contributions included Dick and Cathy Mose (State Street), Kathy Fadden and Beth Hogle (Franklin Avenue), Elle Finocan (Sunset Road), Andrea Hill (Old Lake Colby R­oad), Olive Forth (Main Street), and Yvonne and Lester Parrish (Payeville Road).

VIS volunteers beautify Saranac Lake, maintain VIS neighborhood parks and preserve the historical legacy for future generations. For more information or to get involved, visit and/or like it on Facebook.