Timelines, deadlines discussed for $10 million grant

Jaclyn Hakes takes suggestions for modifications to the Saranac Lake Downtown Revitalization Initiative vision statement at Local Planning Committee meeting Wednesday. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — The Local Planning Committee for this village’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant gathered for its first meeting on Wednesday in the Saranac Lake Free Library’s Cantwell Room.

On the agenda was confirming the DRI vision for Saranac lake, the downtown boundary for proposals, deadlines and a timeline overview. The committee is made up of more than two dozen state officials and local professionals.

In August, Saranac Lake was selected to be the recipient of a $10 million grant from the state, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual $100 million DRI program, distributed to 10 localities in the state on the basis of that downtown’s potential for transformation.

“The idea is that leveraging this $10 million dollars of public investment will spur future investment,” said Jaclyn Hakes of M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, who is managing the proposal profiles for the LPC.

M.J., working with other architecture, engineering and assessing firms, will take proposals for DRI funding and draft a document that reflects the cost and feasibility of each proposal “to find out if the project is real, if it can be implemented,” Hakes said.

The LPC agreed on a Nov. 2 deadline for proposals to receive funding from the DRI.

According to the timeline presented at the meeting, by January the LPC will begin narrowing down the proposals they intend to submit to the state in March, based on whether they have the capability to be “catalytic, transformative,” Hakes said.

Hakes said the state suggests that localities identify $15 million in projects to send forward — with only about $9.75 million that each locality will receive. This is so that if projects fall through, there are alternatives identified for funding.

In March the village will finalize and send forward the portfolio it has decided on.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the boundary for what constitutes DRI-applicable Saranac Lake downtown was considered, but left as is. In addition, the DRI vision statement for Saranac Lake was briefly workshopped, with meeting attendees suggesting words they wanted to see included, such as pedestrian accessibility, community connectedness and accessibility.

Decided at the meeting was the schedule for LPC meetings for the next six months — occurring the second Thursday of each month, with the first on Nov. 8.

More information about the DRI and the process can be found at www.ny.gov/dri