Saranac Lake seeks input on park, waterfront plans

Village seeks input on park, waterfront plans

An artist's rendering of the village of Saranac Lake's plans for Baldwin Park. (Provided photo)

SARANAC LAKE — The village is asking residents to come by the Harrietstown Town Hall Auditorium on Tuesday evening to talk about its plans for redesigning Baldwin Park and its updates to the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

People can drop by at any time between 5 and 6:30 p.m. to speak with village staff, project advisory committee members and consultant team members; learn more about the village’s plans for the Lake Flower Avenue park and provide feedback at a series of stations in the auditorium.

“There will be a table for kids to be creative and share ideas,” village Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski said.

She said the village hopes this will make this open house-style meeting more welcoming.

“It’s to say, ‘having to bring your kids to a public meeting should not be a deterrent,'” she said.

An artist's rendering of the village of Saranac Lake's plans for Baldwin Park. (Provided photo)

Konkoski also said they’re looking to get input from the village’s youngest residents.

Baldwin Park

The map of the Baldwin Park Vision Plan shows that the village plans to remove the tennis courts currently there and replace them with an area for a pavilion, boardwalks and fishing piers.

The goal of the redesign is to improve waterfront access and add more parking at the park in hopes that more people will use it, Konkoski said.

The village’s plans for Baldwin Park are mostly set in stone, she said. They’re mostly looking for confirmation from the community and to hear if there are any concerns.

“But it doesn’t mean that if someone has a really great idea it can’t be considered. Fresh ideas are always welcome,” Konkoski said.

It just has to be a really good idea that fits the constraints of the site, she said. There are limits on what can go there — set by limited space, wetland areas to avoid and the park being situated between the waterfront and a major road.

The planning phase for the park has been funded through a $57,700 grant award from the North Elba Local Enhancement and Advancement Fund, which directs occupancy tax revenue to local projects. This money will result in construction documents and a cost estimate for the redesign. The village will pay for the construction itself, Konkoski said.

Konkoski also said she’s going to put an online survey on the village website at https://bit.ly/3rHpUfH, which will be open through May 10.

Local Waterfront Revitalization Program

The village is also looking for public comment on upgrades to its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

The LWRP is administered by the Department of State. Saranac Lake qualifies for the program because of the lakes and rivers which run through town.

The program allows improvement projects for infrastructure, sustainability and access to these water bodies to be eligible for state funding.

Konkoski said in the past, the LWRP has brought money in for parts of the River Walk, improvements to village parks, and for projects to improve bike and pedestrian access to water.

The village’s LWRP, which hasn’t been updated since 2004, needs new policies added to it, Konkoski said. The village only has 13 right now. The DOS now has 44 suggested policies — including ones guiding development, fish and wildlife, flooding and erosion, historic preservation and recreation.

Konkoski said these new policies focus on sustainability and resiliency to climate change.

“The purpose of the open house and virtual workshop is to introduce the program, provide an overview of existing conditions and learn about needs and opportunities from the community,” Konkoski wrote in an email.

She said the LWRP guides development and investment in the village’s vision for its waterfront areas.

This process is funded by the DOS under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

The LWRP is being developed by the village and guided by a Waterfront Advisory Committee, Konkoski said, with consulting assistance by M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying; CLA Site Landscape Architecture, Engineering & Planning: and Shumaker Engineering.

The village will also hold a virtual public workshop on Thursday, April 28 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. Advance registration is required and will be added to https://bit.ly/3L51XGV.


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