Rabideau bids farewell
Dear Saranac Lakers:
It has been my pleasure to serve you, the people of the village of Saranac Lake, over the last 12 years. It is now time for me to announce that I will be retiring as the mayor of our village at the conclusion of my present term, which ends March 31, 2022. Please know that I am very grateful for this experience and opportunity.
My wife, Janie, and I now have nine grandchildren, and counting, and we look forward to spending a lot more time with them as our work obligations wind down. We also look forward to seeing all the new Saranac Lake developments come to fruition.
I extend my profound thanks to all village personnel and fellow board members with whom I worked alongside each day. They are second to none and, due to our size, perform multiple functions with professionalism and positivity. Space limits naming them all, however, Village Manager John Sweeney and Village Clerk Kareen Tyler were my daily go-to partners.
The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department and the Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad are independent entities; nevertheless, I must tip my hat to all the outstanding individuals in each for adding so much to our local safety and quality of life during my tenure. Tremendously important they were, are, and will be.
Our village team had many accomplishments since 2010, as the village tax rate, 12 years later, adjusted for inflation, is lower; and our balance sheet stronger, after garnering $20 million in state and federal grants, plus the coveted $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in 2018 and $7 million that helped kickstart the resurrection of the Hotel Saranac and the building of the new Saranac Waterfront Lodge, which have brought a noticeable increase of foot traffic to our village stores and venues.
In the past 12 years, we have fixed up village streets and we still have much more to do. We also took out a million-dollar bond to fix our sidewalks. That 10-year note will be soon paid off and I hope we can do it one more time to fix the remaining sidewalks.
We also became more environmentally responsible by adding power generation to our Lake Flower Dam and earning a bronze-level Climate Smart Community status.
In 2010, we brought two bio-tech companies into incubator space within our village and their successors remain local with another currently occupying the space. The Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation was created to assist in further new job generation.
The size of our village grew 4% as we engineered the annexation of the 64-acre AMA complex, the acreage of the former landfill site, and land adjacent to the Lake Colby Beach.
We also had fun and enhanced our tourism destination brand by establishing the Saranac Lake 6er Program, a St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Walk of Fame, adding mountain bike trails to Mt. Pisgah, hosting the World Snowshoe Championships, and giving a home to our championship Saranac Lake Surge professional baseball team.
Our local commemoration of Anzac Day, which honors our Australian and New Zealand allies, and all veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, has become a unique and endearing characteristic of our community.
The can-do spirit of Saranac Lakers, our unwavering optimism, and our ability to come together — often spontaneously — to make great things happen, set us apart. I remember the day when 1,000 Saranac Lakers strong descended upon the Ice Palace and a jumbotron TV on a frigid February morning, with only hours of notice, to cheer on hometown hero, Chris Mazdzer, racing with the mixed luge relay team in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, while the Today Show, amazed, filmed us. We do this kind of All-American stuff all the time. That is who we are. Saranac Lake was named an All-American city for rock-solid reasons, and it always will be so. Our mountain village is an extraordinary community, and I will forever remain appreciative for being a part of it.
Thank you and excelsior.