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Don’t dismiss what SL trustees have done

To the editor:

Saranac Lake village trustees HAVE vision for our community. Fred Balzac and Trevor Sussey’s claim to be the visionaries is simplistic, out of touch with all the work of the past six years. Having a vision is nice; however, having a track record of making these visions a reality can be challenging and impressive.

The village of Saranac Lake is one of New York’s newest Climate Smart Communities, and the first community in Franklin and Essex County to enter the program. The village has installed an electric charging station for electric cars, LED lights for all village offices, Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations for the village, and led issuing a resolution supporting the Climate March. The village has focused on improving energy efficiency, including converting streetlights to LEDs (a two-year effort so far). 

The village of Saranac Lake has joined the network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. They’ve established a Complete Street policy, improved the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditionng) in 3 Main St., defined energy performance measures and inventoried vehicles.

The village focused on affordable housing development for low-income families. They encouraged village residents to invest in improvements for their houses by giving property tax breaks on the improvements.

The village has focused on making Saranac Lake a walkable and bikeable community, winning recognition as a silver-level Walk Friendly Community. The village has designed streetscape improvements for Main Street and Broadway, Church Street, River Street and Woodruff Street, built improved sidewalks with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility, and created improvements for students crossing Petrova Avenue. 

The village created a Parks Vision Plan for 11 village parks, to enhance parks for all users and to attract and retain young families. The village created conceptual park designs with the Chazen Companies.

The trustees and staff modernized the village website, with much more information available, easier to access, greater contact information and readily available forms. All of this may seem simple, but required a year of effort.

The village built a SkatePark that keeps young people here in our area. We have heard Paul Smith’s students say the SkatePark was a factor in deciding to come study in our area and from North Country Community College students, it was the reason they stayed and are growing their families in our area.

The village has been a strong supporter of the Saranac Lake Youth Center, and without its support, our lovely little village would most likely have lost the Youth Center, which would have had to close its door forever. 

The village has supported and promoted active lifestyle. It’s improved walk and bike signage, mapping trails and recreation assets. It has supported spring, summer, fall and winter events. This also encourages young families to stay here in our community.

The village has brought in village residents onto advisory boards to move many of these accomplishments forward, working with village staff. They are listening to us, supporting us and working with us to create a vision and to strive toward that vision. 

I want to thank the village trustees for their vision. I am voting for Rich Shapiro and Tom Catillaz Sept. 15.

Diane Roberts

Saranac Lake

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