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Credit union looks to expand to Wilmington

Town tax rate to rise by 4 cents next year

Maggie Pope, right, CEO of the Peru Federal Credit Union, speaks at the Wilmington Town Council meeting Tuesday. (Provided photo — Tim Follos)

WILMINGTON — Maggie Pope, chief executive officer of the Peru Federal Credit Union, attended Wilmington’s monthly town council meeting on Tuesday to express her interest in Wilmington and get a sense of whether the feeling is mutual.

Pope said that early in her career she worked in the Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union’s Wilmington location and “could never understand why it closed — I felt it was quite busy.”

She said she’s looked at Wilmington’s demographics and feels the time is right for her credit union — which currently has branches in Peru, Keeseville, and AuSable Forks — to expand into Essex County.

“I love this community,” Pope said. “I want to be a part of it.”

However, “I don’t just want to say, ‘We’re coming to town,'” she added. “I want to know we’re wanted. … If we have the community’s support, I think we would do really well here.”

Pope outlined plans to open a Peru Federal Credit Union branch next door to the Little Super Market, in a building that until recently was the site of a hardware store. She said that if everything goes smoothly, the credit union could open in the spring.

The town council quickly approved a resolution in support of Pope’s efforts.

Michelle Preston, manager of the town’s visitors bureau, summarized the response to Pope’s presentation when she said, “Anything we can do to help, just let us know.”

Budget

In other business, town Supervisor Roy Holzer said he expects the town tax rate to increase by 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Holzer attributed most of the increase to a delayed reimbursement from New York state for the cost of work on the dam that impounds the West Branch of the AuSable River near the center of town.

The town council’s monthly meeting on Nov. 5 will include a public hearing on the town budget.

Halloween

Looking ahead to Halloween, the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) on Springfield Road will host the third annual Trunk-or-Treat.

Individuals, families, businesses, and civic organizations plan to decorate campsites — all of which have electricity and fire pits — and provide “safe and fun” trick-or-treating from 4 to 7 p.m. on Halloween.

Trunk-or-Treat is being organized by Tina Preston, the Wilmington Church of the Nazarene and the Whiteface Region Visitors Bureau. Visitors bureau manager Michelle Preston said that so far, about 30 different people and groups have arranged to sponsor sites, and she expects that number to grow. There is no charge to sponsor a site.

Children from Wilmington and nearby communities are invited to the event.

Michelle Preston said people with questions about Trunk-or-Treat should contact the visitors bureau at 518-946-2255.

Skiing

As summer has turned to fall, fall will turn to winter.

Holzer said that the state Olympic Regional Development Authority plans to limit the number of guests in Whiteface Mountain Ski Center’s lodges and on its slopes in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Nonetheless, “They’re expecting an extremely, extremely busy winter, and if you look at how busy we were this summer, I think they might be right,” Holzer said.

One of the final items the board discussed was a grant from the Adirondack Foundation for the town’s youth ski program. After the meeting, Holzer said helping Wilmington’s young people enjoy the mountain that looms over their town is a priority for him, that Wilmington’s youth ski program will provide kids with lift tickets for six afternoons of skiing this winter, and that he hopes to increase opportunities to get local kids on the slopes in the future. He said people with questions about the youth ski program should contact him via the supervisor’s office.

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