Dressing up downtown Saranac Lake
Painted lampposts, new banners, flowers add to cheerful look
SARANAC LAKE — The village’s streetlights have recently gotten an upgrade, thanks to Kathy Ford, chair of the Arts and Culture Advisory Board, who has herself been out with a paint can and brush, lending a bit of color to the charcoal-gray posts. The new colors add to the already pretty impressive village aesthetics.
Ford painted seven posts along Main Street before it got cold, and is planning on painting three more along Broadway in the spring.
“It was a way to infuse public art into the natural environment,” said Ford, who wishes she could paint them all. It took six months to get approval to paint the posts, which are owned by National Grid.
In addition to the bright colors, 15 streetlights will soon be getting new banners to celebrate the local arts scene. By the first week of October, the latest banners added to the village streetlight banner program will be up, highlighting writing, art, dance, theater and music. They were illustrated by local artist Anna Kittle; her husband Shaun Kittle and Ford helped with them as well.
The previous banners were a project of the village Community Development office in conjunction with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, and include a mosaic design, the 6er hiking challenge and Celebrate Paddling.
The recent “Racism is a public health crisis” banners were spearheaded by ROOST, Mayor Clyde Rabideau and others, who also combined on the sandwich boards urging people to wear masks.
ROOST’s in-house designers Emilee Hazelden and Dan Cash did the art for the mosaic, hiking and paddling banners, as well as the sandwich boards. Hazelden worked on the racism banners.
“The banners have been really effective and really keeps Saranac Lake’s message on point,” said Justin Levine, ROOST’s content developer and Saranac Lake marketing manager.
Winter-themed banners will be the next project, possibly focusing on the newly decided “Mask-erade” theme of the 2021 Winter Carnival.
Another addition to public aesthetics, the colorful flowerpots, is the project of the Downtown Advisory Board. The 45 planters that make downtown seem like an occasional flower show are set up by Scotts Florist. The eight planters in public spaces are paid for by the village; the 41 planters beautifying downtown are paid for local businesses in conjunction with the village, though this year a private donor covered the portion usually covered by those businesses.
Enjoy the flowers while you can, as they’ll be gone after this week, says Scotts Florist co-owner Kathy Steinbreuck. The flower baskets that had been hanging from the streetlights, a project of the Village Improvement Society (established 1910), have already been taken down.
“It’s that time,” said Steinbreuck, who noted that they compost the flowers in the woods at the end of the season. “The deer thank us very much.”
You may have noticed that this year the flowers in the hanging baskets had a few days’ pit stop, thanks to Kathy’s husband Roger, who noticed that a hummingbird living in the bushes near the Verizon Wireless store was still feeding on the flowers as he was taking them down. So Roger loaded the flowers onto a trailer and parked it across the street from Harrietstown Town Hall, with a cardboard sign designating them as a “hummingbird feeder.”
Not a bad way to continue the village beautification project.
(Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Shaun Kittle and Kathy Ford also worked on the banners.)