Committee narrows down DRI applicants

SARANAC LAKE — At the fourth Local Planning Committee meeting Thursday, LPC work groups presented their recommendations for which Downtown Revitalization Initiative project proposals should move forward to share in a nearly $10 million state grant package.

“We are more than halfway through the DRI process,” said Jaclyn Hakes, director of planning services for M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, the lead consultant for the Saranac Lake DRI. “There is still a significant amount of work that still needs to be done.”

By the end of January, draft project profiles for the project that the LPC is considering should be submitted to the state.

Over the last month, the LPC split into four work groups to appraise each project proposal and assign it one of three categories: ready to move forward, needing more information or not ready — perhaps more suitable for other funding sources.

“This is the attempt to try to narrow down the list and find the list of projects that is ready to go within the DRI,” Hakes said, “and best meet the goal of transformative, catalytic projects, without ranking or prioritizing the projects.”

These recommendations are not final — the LPC will meet again on Jan. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Harrietstown Town Hall auditorium to look at these projects again.

This is in light of a new deadline the LPC has set of Jan. 18 for itemized budgets.

The LPC has asked project sponsors to submit comprehensive breakdowns of cost for their projects, splitting each item’s expense by what the sponsor is prepared to pay for, and how much they’re asking from the DRI.

“The crunch time is coming up,” Mayor Clyde Rabideau said at Thursday’s meeting in the town hall auditorium. “I think we all know that. … We have to be very realistic about what is transformational.”

While these numbers are subject to change as more detailed budget information is available, the consultant team approximated that between $7 million and $8 million in projects that have been recommended to move forward. There is about $3.5 million in projects designated as needing more information and about $4 million in the projects recommended as not fit for the DRI, or not ready.

The DRI provides $9.7 million to a locality’s downtown to fund projects that the community and state deem transformative. The state asks that the community submit $15 million worth of projects in case some fall through.

The arts, culture and entertainment work group presented the following suggestions:

¯ A14, a downtown public art installation, was ready to move forward.

¯ B03, Pendragon Theatre relocation, was ready to move forward.

¯ B15, Historic Saranac Lake museum, was ready to move forward.

¯ B18, a whitewater park project, was ready to move forward.

¯ B32, the Adirondack Soak and Spa, was not ready, and perhaps more suitable for other funding sources.

¯ B24, Play ADK, was ready to move forward.

¯ B41, BluSeed Studio’s Making Arts Accessible for All project, was ready to move forward.

The business and job creation work group presented the following suggestions:

¯ B01, Black Mountain Architecture renovation, needed more information.

¯ B14, Tops Friendly Market renovation, needed more information.

¯ B21, a Main Street incubator, was ready to move forward.

¯ B33, Nori’s landscape-streetscape and River Walk access, needed more information and was advised to just focus on landscape-streetscape work.

¯ B38, Bitters & Bones brewery and beer garden expansion, was ready to move forward.

¯ B45, 91 Broadway expansion and renovation, current home of Heath’s Auto Repair, was ready to advance.

¯ C01, Energize Downtown Fund, was ready to advance.

¯ D01, a village branding-marketing program, was ready to advance.

The mixed use housing and retail work group presented the following suggestions:

¯ B02, Coulter Block (76-82 Main St.) renovation and conversion, was ready to advance.

¯ B02, Romano’s Bloomingdale Avenue revitalization, was not ready, perhaps suitable for other funding sources.

¯ B25, 42 Main St. renovation, current home of Compass Printing Plus, was ready to advance.

¯ B26, 133 Broadway new construction, a vacant parcel next to the Christian Book Store, needed more information.

¯ B29, 70 Main St. renovation, old Sears and Furniture Warehouse building, currently home to the Dance Sanctuary and Northeast Tae Kwon Do, needed more information.

¯ B35, 15 Broadway renovation, current home of the Adironack Loon Center for Conservation, was not ready, perhaps suitable for other funding sources.

¯ B36, 19 Broadway renovation, former home of Celtic Vape Co. and Major Plowshares Army Navy Surplus, was not ready, perhaps suitable for other funding sources.

¯ B37, 23 Broadway renovation, where Eco Living is, was not ready, perhaps suitable for other funding sources.

¯ A13, the Lake Flower Apartments renovation, needed more information.

¯ B39, the T.F. Finnigan historic downtown revitalization, needed more information.

The last work group, handling public spaces and streetscape improvements, had only one recommendation for their group of projects:

¯ A12, the Depot area project, needed more information.

The rest of the projects were split into three bundles: the Church Street bundle, the public bundle, and River Street improvements. In each case, the work group went through all the available elements that could be improved in the area, and selected those they’d most like to see. The consultant team will now move forward to build detailed cost estimates based on these suggestions.

There will be a public information meeting from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Cantwell Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library. Further information on the projects the LPC is considering will be available.

More information on each project can be found on the preliminary project list on the Saranac Lake village government website, at