Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake net grants for parks
Saranac Lake gets $894K for Baldwin, Tupper awarded $533K for Flanders
SARANAC LAKE — The village of Saranac Lake has received a $894,937 grant for upgrades at Baldwin Park and the village of Tupper Lake has received $533,500 for upgrades at Flanders Park in the latest round of the state Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization grant awards.
Baldwin Park sits on the shore of Lake Flower off of Lake Flower Avenue. It was the site of controversy among pickleballers and the village board over the summer, as players of the sport urged the village to reconsider its plans to remove two existing courts from the park redesign. The village has so far chosen to keep these courts out of the plans, which currently would turn the park into a walking and picnic area with waterfront access.
“Nothing is final right now, to my knowledge,” village Manager Bachana Tsiklauri said.
But the village does have conceptual designs from April 2022 prepared by LaBella Associates which do not include the tennis, pickleball and basketball courts. Tsiklauri said it will ultimately be up to the village board to decide what goes in the park.
The current plans are for a pavilion, raised walkways, “outdoor classrooms” and the existing memorial.
Tsiklauri said the village was notified it got the $894,937 grant on Nov. 21.
The debate over the courts led to hours of discussion during village board meetings this summer, numerous letters to the editor in the Enterprise and a 500-signature petition from picklers and tennis players asking for the village to keep the courts.
The village’s initial plan years ago was to remove the tennis and pickleball courts, but after more public discussion last year, one court was added back into the plan. This summer, the village board changed the plan to remove all the courts again. They worried keeping the courts in the plans would endanger the village’s chances of getting grants for park work, based on their proximity to the water’s edge and wetlands.
Tsiklauri said the grant application went out July 28 after the board’s most recent decision to move forward with Baldwin Park plans without the courts.
Since then, three new pickleball courts were built at Mount Pisgah, funded by the High Peaks Pickleball Club.
Flanders Park sits on the shore of Raquette Pond off of Mill Street.
Village Mayor Paul Maroun said the village got rejected for this grant last year. He called the state to ask why, said he voiced his disappointment and pitched the redesign as a handicap accessible park which could give residents at the Sunmount state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities facility in town access to the waterfront. The state awarded the village the grant this year.
Maroun said the plans are to build a handicap accessible trail from the backside of the municipal ballfield, where the boat launch is, to the other end of the park near Cliff Avenue. He also said the money would fund a new fishing pier at around the middle of Flanders Park, which the trail would access.
Also, the money would cover engineering for a new building at the baseball field where the professional Riverpigs team plays, between a set of recently upgraded bleachers and the road accessing the boat launch.
This building would be a clubhouse for the teams, he said, with locker rooms, showers and bathrooms, as well as offices for the game officials.
Maroun said the building could be used for other summer events and by snowmobilers in the winter.
“It’s major for Tupper,” Maroun said.
Maroun is preparing to leave the village’s top seat in early December after 13 years as mayor. He did not run for reelection this year and former town Councilwoman Mary Fontana will be sworn in within the next week.
Maroun said big things like this park revitalization don’t happen overnight. They take a lot of work and a lot of time. He thanked village Community Development Director Melissa McManus for her work on getting this grant.
“I think I’m leaving the village and the North Country in good shape,” Maroun said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect grant amount for Saranac Lake’s Baldwin Park. The grant was for $894,937, not $849,937. The Enterprise regrets the error.