Village seeks cost proposals for River Walk extension

The former Dew Drop Inn building is seen in May on Broadway in Saranac Lake. Village officials are considering a proposal to extend the River Walk through a covered deck on the side of the building. (Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)

SARANAC LAKE — The village is looking for cost estimates for the proposed extension of the Saranac River Walk.

The village Board of Trustees voted Monday to approve a “Request for Cost Proposal” that says it’s seeking a contract price with a qualified firm or consulting team for the engineering, design, bidding and oversight of the project.

Village officials want to extend the River Walk from where it currently veers away from the Saranac River into an alley off of the Dorsey Street parking lot. To make a more direct connection to Broadway, the River Walk would have to go through two river-front properties: a garage now owned by Wayne Zukin, and the former Dew Drop Inn, now owned by Calli Shelton and Randy Coles, who plan to renovate it and reopen it as a bar and restaurant. Shelton’s plans for the property show the River Walk going through an open-air, covered porch along the river, then up a set of stairs to Broadway, which it would cross to rejoin its current route.

During Monday’s discussion, Trustee Allie Pelletieri repeated concerns he’s raised previously about the village moving ahead with the River Walk extension before it has signed agreements with the property owners.

“Are we going to rent the space or lease it? Are we going to get a permanent easement?” Pelletieri asked. “How are we going to legally control it, and who is going to maintain the property? Whose right of way is it going to be?”

Mayor Clyde Rabideau asked village Manager John Sweeney if issuing the request commits the village to the project.

“We’re just asking for the cost,” Sweeney said. “Until you get a general area of design, we don’t know exactly who we’re going to go after on this and where it’s going to come out in terms of a connection point. Some of these things are precursors to get us there. Procedurally, this is just design work.”

The design and permitting of the project are funded by a $150,000 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant the village was awarded in 2015. The money was intended for the design of a proposed shoreline trail along Lake Flower, but village officials later agreed to redirect it to the River Walk extension.

The village would have to seek additional funding for construction of the project, Sweeney said.

“All this is is to make sure it can be done and designed, if we need to get easements, if we need to purchase property and where is it going to go,” he said.

Trustees ultimately voted 4-0 to approve issuing the request.