Prospects are good for Saranac Lake

Our village has an exciting future. As we look ahead to the new year and chart our community’s course, we start from a solid foundation of progress because, on any measure, the village is in a much better place than it was in 2010.

Since that time, our tax rate went up only 2.5 percent, which is extraordinary, considering the cost of living increased three times that amount and all of our many achievements: a resurging downtown, the development of new hotel-resorts, new biotech companies moving into our village, major repairs of our sidewalks and streets, elimination of duplicated municipal services and double-taxation, and the installation of a new $14 million water system. We actually grew the size of our village as well with the annexation of adjacent properties, including the American Management Association campus. We shared human feeling and need, halfway around the world, with Australia, and honor our alliance each April on Anzac Day. We went to the next level in branding and marketing with our award-winning Saranac Lake 6er Program, the World Snowshoe Championships and our Walk of Fame. We even kicked up our heels a bit and had some fun with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade that will grow in the years ahead.

Currently, we are in discussions with the YMCA so they may bring their many services here and also with the state for a privately owned Olympic-caliber sports competition venue. We are also planning an aggressive bid for the next North Country “DRI” grant, the $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative, so that the Pendragon Theatre, along with many other creative job generators, come to fruition in the heart of our village. Added to this agenda are major upgrades to the police department and fire department facilities. We are also leveraging our world recognition as a snowshoe destination by inaugurating the first annual Adirondack Snowshoe Fest this February.

The Hotel Saranac is set to open this month. The Lake Flower Resort is pushing ahead and looking toward a spring groundbreaking. These needed lodging facilities are taking shape to make us, truly, a tourist destination. The Dew Drop building is set for a multi-million-dollar makeover that has already started, while the downtown facade program is already paying big “visual and feel” dividends along Main Street and Broadway, which are looking better than ever. We also want to assist local businesses and service providers to enhance the “guest experience” for all the new visitors we will have.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will remediate Pontiac Bay in a “one-season,” Herculean, $42 million effort starting in April and finishing before Ice Palace season. Our newly realigned Codes Department has the groundwork in place to go after the so-called “zombie” properties, numbering 37… down two from last month. Progress.

We have nuts-and-bolts plans, too, from finding a more lasting way to fill potholes to utilizing more renewable energy resources. Yes, these are more localized goals, though we recognize regional and statewide challenges, such as our concern and want for an answer to the proliferation of opioid abuse, which is tempered by the fact that solutions lie far beyond local police interdiction and the resources in our 3.5-square-mile community. Notwithstanding, we stand ready to do our share.

We work with a terrific village board and are blessed with a dedicated and hard-working village staff. Our village workers, the rank and file, the police department and volunteer fire department are all top-notch. To them, I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation. It is always a team effort with many important players and unsung heroes who achieved our many successes and protected well our safety.

Saranac Lake is a shining light in the Adirondacks; a true community in every sense of the word with neighbor helping neighbor and a village government doing its best with community participation. Excelsior.

Clyde Rabideau is mayor of the village of Saranac Lake.