North Elba approves third round of LEAF grants

Dallas Ames, right, playing Goldie, pontificates on the virtues of buying some dry stems from the Mysterious Old Flower Woman, played by Summer Cranker, as they rehearse Pendragon Junior’s “Alias Smedley Pewtree, Or The Villain of Glitter Gulch” in late March. Pendragon Theatre is a LEAF grant recipient, receiving $25,000 to expand summer programming. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

LAKE PLACID — The North Elba Local Enhancement and Advancement Fund committee is awarding nearly $800,000 to 16 local organizations for projects intended to benefit the community that range from making nature trail improvements to constructing an affordable housing development.

The North Elba Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the third round of LEAF grant recipients. Councilor Emily Politi recused herself. Politi is on the board for the Homestead Development Corporation, which received its second grant in this round of LEAF funding. Councilor Rick Preston, who currently serves as the Lake Placid Central School District School Board of Education president, was absent for the vote.

Two rounds of LEAF grants were distributed last year, with a total of more than $1.3 million going to local organizations. Two of the organizations granted money in the third round — Homestead Development Corporation, Lake Placid Municipal Electric — were also awarded funding in the second round. The village of Lake Placid has received funding in all three LEAF grant rounds.

The grants are funded by revenue generated by the county’s 5% occupancy tax — a tax collected on all hotel, motel, bed-and-breakfast and short-term vacation rental stays in Essex County. From the 5% tax, about 3% goes to the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and 2% goes into a fund that directs money to each of Essex County’s 18 towns. The county also keeps some of the revenue to pay for administrative costs.

The 16 organizations approved for funding in the second round of LEAF grants include:

¯ Homestead Development Corporation, $125,000 toward an affordable housing development in Lake Placid

¯ Village of Lake Placid, $69,595 for winter decorations and $50,000 for McKinley Park playground improvements

¯ Lake Placid Central School District, $100,000 for a community schools program to support local families

¯ Village of Saranac Lake, $80,000 for a matching grant program to assist the Lake Flower Business District with improving the Lake Flower corridor

¯ Educational Opportunity Fund, $80,000 for the annual 5th grade field trip to Albany

¯ Lake Placid Municipal Electric Department, $75,000 for electric vehicle charging stations in the Main Street parking lot

¯ Lake Placid Horse Show Association, Inc., $50,000 for electrical upgrades to the front area of the North Elba Horse Show Grounds

¯ Pendragon Theatre, $25,000 to expand summer programming

¯ St. Agnes School, $25,000 for electric, heating and cooling systems upgrades

¯ Ecumenical Charity Program, $23,600 for appliance, storage and technical upgrades

¯ Lake Placid Public Library, $20,000 to renovate the ramp entrance to become more handicap accessible

¯ Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, $20,000 to purchase a utility terrain vehicle for rescues on rugged terrain

¯ New York Ski Education Foundation, $20,000 toward a new van

¯ Ausable River Association, $33,320 to fund the second year of a five-year funding commitment for regular water quality and biological monitoring of Mirror Lake

¯ Mirror Lake Watershed Association, $9,216 to extend the association’s stewardship education days at the Mirror Lake boat launch

¯ Barkeater Trails Alliance, $7,500 for trail improvements to two areas of the Jackrabbit Trail

Town Supervisor Derek Doty thanked the LEAF committee — the 11-person committee that selects grant recipients for approval by the town council — for its work.

“I believe we’re getting more thorough each round, and this round looks to me like we adhere to the mission statement even better,” Doty said.


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