SARANAC LAKE, NY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 10 transformational projects for downtown Saranac Lake as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. The strategic investments in downtown Saranac Lake will augment the village’s strengths: proximity to the Adirondack Mountains and recreation attractions, a vibrant arts and cultural community, and a mix of small businesses in its walkable downtown. The investments are part of the Governor’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the Upstate economy and create more opportunities for the North Country.
“These targeted investments in Saranac Lake will help strengthen the surrounding businesses and communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “By investing in our downtown neighborhoods we can help attract even more new businesses, residents and visitors to Saranac Lake.”
“As we work to protect the natural beauty of the Adirondacks, we must also ensure that local communities like Saranac Lake are vibrant and thriving,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, who made today’s announcement. “These Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects will be a significant boost for this community, helping to bring in more visitors and improve quality of life for local residents. Our investments represent a continued commitment to advancing the future of the North Country economy.”
Downtown Saranac Lake was named a DRI Round 3 winner in August 2018. Saranac Lake is a historic village in the Adirondacks, surrounded by easily accessible mountains and lakes, attracting tourists from both in and out of state each year. The eclectic, active community serves as a compact hub for surrounding areas, providing a concentration of restaurants, retail, services, as well as cultural and recreational attractions. The $10 million DRI investment will build upon more than $45 million in public and private funds invested in downtown improvement projects over the past 10 years, notably including the reopening of the historic Hotel Saranac. These projects have already begun to spark new interest in downtown investment and bring about new jobs and business opportunities. To sustain economic vitality, the DRI planning effort will focus on projects that increase the Village’s quality of life and year-round public amenities as well as the development of market-rate housing and rehabilitation of existing housing essential to the continued attraction of working professionals and families to Saranac Lake.
The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:
Create a Series of Linked Gateway Parks: Enhance the pedestrian experience and safety with new amenities at Berkeley Green Park, Ward Plumadore Park, and William Morris Park, and complementary streetscape improvements adjacent to each public space. The new network of upgraded corridors and parks will reinforce the northern and central gateways to Saranac Lake and provide accessible and attractive open spaces downtown. ($1,077,769)
Increase Connectivity between Downtown Destinations: Transform downtown Saranac Lake into a vibrant, walkable community core by increasing connectivity between retail, recreation, and municipal amenities. Four key components are the installation of landscape and safety features on Church Street; redesign of the Dorsey Street parking lot; completion of the Riverwalk; and expansion of the tree canopy along the Broadway and Main retail corridors. ($1,062,073)
Enhance the Woodruff Street Streetscape: Revamp the Woodruff Street corridor from Broadway to Bloomington Avenue as a walkable destination, facilitating its development as a retail and cultural hub. Improvements will include undergrounding utility lines and installing a two-way bicycle lane, new sidewalks, high-visibility crosswalks, trees, pedestrian-scale lighting, and a complementary decorative feature. ($1,993,664)
Develop the Saranac Lake Whitewater Park: Develop a whitewater park to bring new aquatic activities to downtown Saranac Lake and build on the Village’s status as a recreation destination. The park will be located on village property along the Saranac River north of the Route 3/LaPan Bridge. ($410,616)
Creation of Play ADK: A Children’s Museum: Convert a warehouse at 33 Depot Street into a safe, attractive and fascinating children’s museum and play center Develop the site of new children’s museum/play center into a beautiful park, and improve the warehouse into a safe, attractive and fascinating spatial experience as a giant play-structure which stimulates the imagination and creative spirit of young children and their families. Phase 1 building repairs will include lighting, and safe, convenient access to the warehouse. ($949,378)
Create Saranac Lake’s First Downtown Brewery: Expand the Bitters & Bones bar and restaurant to incorporate Saranac Lake’s first downtown brewery and beer garden, attracting beer, food, and entertainment enthusiasts and contributing to Saranac Lake’s nightlife scene. The project will include the creation of additional space for the brewery functions, a new rooftop deck, facade improvements, and the renovation of two apartments. ($381,500)
Position the Pendragon Theatre as a Cultural and Community Anchor: Transform an underutilized former paint store at 56 Woodruff Street into a state-of-the-art performance facility for the Pendragon Theatre, anchoring the downtown district. This adaptive reuse project will enable the non-profit to accommodate larger audiences, provide opportunities to showcase local art, and serve as the centerpiece of Saranac Lake’s vibrant arts community. ($2,500,000)
Rehabilitate the Trudeau Home as the Historic Saranac Lake Museum: Rehabilitate the former home and medical office of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, a seminal figure in the development of tuberculosis treatment, to create a multi-use museum campus at State Route 86 to serve as a gateway attraction driving local tourism. The project will create museum space for exhibits, collections storage, a resource room, and arts and cultural events. ($325,000)
Create an Entrepreneurial Business Center (The Carry): Convert an existing commercial space into an entrepreneurial business center, The Carry, to provide emerging businesses with work space, programming, and technical assistance. The Carry will include a flexible and open floor plan, a kitchenette, a conference room, and Wi-Fi access ($400,000)
Establish the Energize Downtown Fund: Establish a fund to provide matching grants for building improvements, site upgrades, commercial buildouts, and rent subsidies at commercial and mixed-use properties in the DRI area. ($600,000)
Saranac Lake developed a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Saranac Lake examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.
The DRI projects are the latest example of Governor Cuomo’s ongoing commitment to Saranac Lake and the North Country.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “I am proud to see the Village of Saranac Lake take advantage of these investments that will pay dividends for years to come. Saranac Lake is a treasure in the Adirondacks and thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, this community can rightfully enjoy a renewed sense of pride.”
Empire State Development Chairman Howard Zemsky said, “The DRI projects chosen for Saranac Lake will leverage strategic state investments to continue the transformation of this unique downtown, helping to create local jobs and encourage sustainable economic growth in a region that’s the proud home to New York’s Adirondack Park.”
NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Saranac Lake will benefit from the Governor’s innovative Downtown Revitalization Initiative that is making communities throughout New York even better places to live, work and play. Saranac Lake is a North Country treasure that will continue to grow with strategic investments that create more housing, economic and recreational opportunities.”
Senator Betty Little said, “This $10 million investment for our village will continue to build on the progress being made to revitalize downtown for our businesses and residents. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Governor Cuomo announced the Downtown Revitalization Initiative for Saranac Lake. This is a big boost for this wonderful community in the heart of the Adirondacks and will go a long way in transforming the economic outlook of our village and the areas surrounding it.”
Assembly Member Billy Jones said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is an important part of the state’s economic development program, and we are fortunate to see the benefits here in Saranac Lake. These projects will help revolutionize the village’s downtown district, boost our local and regional economy and improve the quality of life for village residents. I look forward to the implementation of this project and applaud the vision of our state and local leaders.”
Jefferson Community College President and NCREDC Co-Chair Dr. Ty Stone said, “The 10 projects chosen for Downtown Saranac Lake will support the state’s economic development efforts by creating a more walkable community rich with dining, entertainment, arts and culture opportunities that complement the existing businesses while establishing the infrastructure to support future growth.”
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO and NCREDC Co-Chair Jim McKenna said, “Coupled with the Council’s emphasis on tourism as an economic engine and Saranac Lake’s reputation as a prime Adirondack Park destination, these projects will generate new investments that invite more people to visit the North Country and discover everything that makes it the perfect place to live, work and experience.”
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to the Village of Saranac Lake. These projects will build on past successes and continue to improve the village and regions economic outlook.”