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Timeline for Main Street overhaul pushed back

Part of downtown Main Street, Lake Placid, is seen in January. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — The timeline for a more than $8 million overhaul of Main Street has been pushed back as planning for the project continues.

The village originally planned to go out to bid next month and move into the construction phase in May. Now, according to town engineer Ivan Zdrahal, the plan is to put the project out to bid in June — with the goal of moving into construction by mid-September. Most of the project is now slated for completion by November 2022.

Mayor Craig Randall said Wednesday that the delay is related to the village exploring ways to add more parking spaces to the upper municipal lot across from NBT Bank. Before the Main Street project moves into the construction phase, according to Randall, the village is looking to complete improvements to that upper lot, allowing it to be open during the duration of the construction period on Main Street.

The Main Street project, which has been years in the making, is designed to rebuild aging water infrastructure so it can support increased use as a result of changing fire codes. Village officials also say it’s an opportunity to upgrade the streetscape with new sidewalks, landscaping and crosswalks; and see it as a step forward in the ongoing effort to protect Mirror Lake from salt contamination with the installation of bioretention basins designed to capture and filter some stormwater before it enters the lake.

The streetscape part of the plan has come under some scrutiny in the last few weeks, in the leadup to the project being sent out to bid. Some business owners have taken issue with what they say has been an opaque planning process, with little to no opportunity for broader community input. Multiple downtown business owners have also expressed concern that the proposed removal of some on-street parking spaces would exacerbate an already cumbersome parking crunch, and that the project’s expected two-year construction season — which would have most of it done by the start of the 2023 World University Games — could bankrupt businesses by deterring visitors.

Last week, more than 40 business owners, employees and residents signed a letter asking the state Department of Transportation to initiate a “public review” of the project. Main Street is part of state Route 86, and the DOT must approve changes to the street before they can move forward. The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees also has to approve the designs before they can be sent out to bid.

A public meeting on the project has not yet been rescheduled. It was originally scheduled for Jan. 27 but was postponed last month at the request of members of the Main Street task force, a group of more than 15 people chosen to offer input on the village’s plans. Last month Mary Jane Lawrence, a task force member and chief of staff at the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, said she didn’t believe the group had all of the information and visuals necessary to present the plans to the public.

Task force members discussed a possible agenda for that public session at length during a meeting at the Beach House on Wednesday, but they have not yet set a new date.

According to Brad Hathaway, superintendent of the village Department of Public Works, the state has indicated that grant funding earmarked for this project will not expire as long as progress is being made.

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