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Lake Placid Main Street meeting in limbo

LAKE PLACID — A public meeting on the village’s Main Street overhaul, slated for March 25, is now in limbo as people are encouraged to practice social distancing to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Mayor Craig Randall said Monday that a subcommittee of the Main Street task force, a volunteer group tasked with reviewing the village’s plans for the $8 million revitalization project, is deciding whether to cancel the meeting, host multiple meetings with a limit on the crowd size, or doing the presentation of the plans in some other way.

“We’re not going to be able to host a meeting with the public with those numbers,” Randall said.

Plans for a Main Street overhaul have been in the works for years as local officials worked to garner grant funding that would allow the village to upgrade its aging water, wastewater and sewer systems, while stemming the flow of road salt runoff into Mirror Lake. Scientists say salt has caused the lake to stop turning over each season, threatening its water quality and trout habitat. Replacing water pipes in some parts of Main Street would also let the system support increased use as a result of changing fire code requirements for sprinkler systems, Randall has said.

With plans in place to rip up the roadways to replace the underlying infrastructure, local officials decided to also rope sidewalk repair and other streetscape changes into the project. The last version of the proposed Main Street plans included the relocation of some crosswalks, as well as the installation of crosswalk bump-outs, custom fencing and some landscaping; the installation of a bioretention basin at Brewster Park designed to capture stormwater runoff from Saranac Avenue; and alterations to traffic flow at the intersection with Saranac Avenue and Mirror Lake Drive. Installing the bioretention basin will require some changes to the grading in that area and may cause the removal of some parking spaces.

Separate from the Main Street project, the village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba are preparing to replace portions of the sidewalk around Mirror Lake Drive. Both municipalities put out requests this month seeking bids from contractors. The sidewalk is expected to be replaced this summer.

A public meeting to unveil concept designs for the Main Street project was originally scheduled for Jan. 27 but was postponed at the request of members of the Main Street task force who wanted to fine-tune the concept art.

The village originally planned to put the project out to bid this month and move into the construction phase in May. Last month, town engineer Ivan Zdrahal said the timeline would be shifted, now with the project set to go out to bid in June and to move into construction in mid-September, following Labor Day. Most of the project is slated for completion by November 2022.

The timeline was shifted because local officials continue to explore the feasibility of building a parking deck over the upper municipal lot across from NBT Bank. Randall has said the village is looking to complete improvements to that upper lot before the Main Street project moves into the construction phase, allowing it to be open during the duration of the construction period.

A new parking deck could expand parking capacity there by 114 spaces, according to Bookstore Plus co-owner Marc Galvin, who serves on a subcommittee discussing NBT lot improvements. At a meeting of the Lake Placid Business Association on March 10, Galvin said there’s been some discussion of possibly making the upper deck permit-only, with access from Marcy Road rather than Main Street.

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