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Village wants to use housing grant for sewer repairs

May 25, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The village wants to use a $400,000 state grant that was originally targeted for a housing project to replace a failing sewer line.

The village Board of Trustees held a public hearing Monday night on a proposed program amendment to the state Community Development Block Grant the village received in October 2010. Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said the state Office for Community Renewal recently advised the village that it may be able to use the money "to remedy an immediate threat to public health and infrastructure."

Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said a sewer line on Woodruff and Dorsey streets appears to be taking in a lot of river water and may have been damaged by the recent flooding. Replacing the line would reduce the high flows that are coming into the village wastewater treatment plant, and also would prevent any sewage that might be migrating out of the sewer line from getting into the river, Evans said.

Only two people spoke during the public hearing - Susan Olsen and Shaun Boyer - and both were in favor of the proposal.

The $400,000 grant had been earmarked for the Adirondack Housing Development Corporation as part its convert the Paul Smith's College dormitory at 81 Church St. into 12 units of middle-income work-force housing. But village trustees rejected the grant because they were concerned about the project's tax-exempt status and weren't able to work out a payment in lieu of takes plan with the group.

Paul Smith's College plans to use the building as a dormitory next school year. The college will also open a new dorm on campus in August, but student enrollment is high enough to require both, college spokesman Ken Aaron said.

In February, village officials said they planned to give back the funding because they weren't able to come up with a program amendment that the state would support.

Following a public hearing Monday night, the board voted unanimously to seek state approval to use the money for the sewer line project.



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