How should Saranac Lake use DRI funds for public spaces?

People look at several potential designs for parks, streets and the River Walk and give their feedback to the village of Saranac Lake on how to best use state money to improve these areas at a public open house last week. (Provided photo — Steve Breitzka)

SARANAC LAKE — This village is asking its residents to share their thoughts on how it can best spend $4.3 million in state grants on seven public projects around town.

A survey listing options for how to use space in three parks, three streets and the River Walk with money from a state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3oPWVDF.

The survey will be open through May 27.

It contains concept designs for these areas and allows for comment on all of them. Results of the survey will result in new designs which in turn will be used to draft final designs informing the construction documents.

Village Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski said the village is using public input to combine ideas or add new ones.

There are proposed improvements to three park areas.

At Ward Plumadore Park — a 0.3-acre space at the intersection of Broadway and Bloomingdale Avenue — there are big landscaping changes proposed, including a street-level plaza and a boulder “scramble.” The main choice respondents will have to make is if the park should be topped with a small-scale fire tower or an open space with seating.

The main question in Berkeley Green Park is how to design the new public restrooms planned in the parking lot. The two options given are wooden siding or a printed wrap with photos or a mural.

In William Morris Park — where the Adirondack Carousel is — the village is asking what people think about adding to the playground area. There are outdoor, playground style musical instruments, seating areas and a plaza proposed.

There are streetscape improvements on three streets with the goal of increasing connectivity in the village and adding urban forestry.

The big decision residents will have to make is the design of a sign at the intersection of Woodruff Street and Broadway. The sign will be a sort of “gateway” to the Woodruff Street area, and the two proposed signs are a vertical one on the sidewalk or a horizontal one, crossing over the street.

For the village’s planned extension of the River Walk from Church Street to Woodruff Street, respondents can voice what fence and walkway designs they like best.

Last week, the village hosted an open house where people spoke with consultants from the Environmental Design and Research firm and village employees.

Konkoski said people were excited about the projects.

“I heard nothing but positive comments,” Konkoski said. “People were asking questions about ‘Why are you doing this?’ or ‘What’s the point of this?’ But in general everything was very positive.”

She said improvements on Woodruff Street, which will also be the end point of the River Walk, the site of a new brewery and a section of the state’s rail trail was a popular area for discussion. So were the proposed new bathrooms in Berkeley Green and expansion of Ward Plumadore Park.

Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau did not attend the meeting but gave this thoughts on one of the projects afterward.

“I’m not so enamored with Ward Plumadore Park,” Rabideau said. “I don’t see why we would make a big investment there. … But my ears are open for the people. If they believe otherwise, I’m going to listen.”


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