Cuomo coming to Saranac Lake Tuesday
‘Economic development’ announcement comes as village hopes for grant
SARANAC LAKE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to make an economic development announcement in this village Tuesday.
Village staff were informed of the governor’s visit early Friday afternoon, according to village Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski. They were not told what it was about, other than “economic development.”
The announcement event is not open to the public but by invitation only. Village staff are sending out the announcements.
$10 million for downtown?
The announcement comes at a time when village officials such as Konkoski are eagerly waiting to see whether Cuomo will pick Saranac Lake as this year’s recipient of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. One downtown revival plan is picked in each of the state’s 10 economic development regions, and Cuomo started the announcements last week by visiting Auburn, the winner for Central New York, on July 27. Konkoski said the governor likes to visit each DRI recipient to make the announcement.
This is the third year of the DRI grants. In the North Country, Plattsburgh got it in 2016 and Watertown in 2017.
Saranac Lake has made a big push to be the 2018 recipient. In fact, a couple of hours before Konkoski was informed of Cuomo’s visit, she had been meeting with the Enterprise for an interview about the village’s final application.
Konkoski has put together a map of more than 40 potential projects in downtown Saranac Lake, whose boundaries were previously set by the Downtown Advisory Board. She didn’t do this just for the DRI; she is also seeking other grants for these designated projects.
Many are facade renovations, but also on the list are new and renovated housing, park and streetscape improvements, new bed-and-breakfast lodgings, bringing a whitewater park back to the Saranac River beneath the Frank Ratigan Bridge, expanding Bitters & Bones bar into a brewpub, renovating the Tops supermarket on Church Street, and expanding Historic Saranac Lake’s museum to a historic doctor’s office next door.
On top of all that is moving Pendragon Theatre downtown to the Woodruff Street property vacated by Newman & Holmes. The village board has designated the Pendragon move as the top priority project for the DRI grant.
In addition to Pendragon, three downtown areas are highlighted on the map as priorities for DRI funding:
¯ The upper Broadway and Depot Street area, including possible mixed-use development along the railroad corridor where Hyde Fuel and HomEnergy now store fuel tanks, and connecting Depot Street to Broadway
¯ Church Street from Bloomingdale Avenue to Woodruff Street (including some of Woodruff)
¯ The Dorsey Street parking lot between the Saranac River and the back of Main Street buildings.
Additional potential projects, whose locations have not yet been determined, include an expansion of the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, establishing the Play ADK children’s museum, a Main Street business incubator, a downtown art installation, rotating storefront art displays, a studio where artists can live and work, a downtown startup challenge grant and a retail incubator program.