ADK, Wild Center, Historic Saranac Lake among 488 grants given statewide
By Zachary Matson
Millions in state grants announced Tuesday will support Adirondack projects ranging from wastewater treatment improvements to museum renovations.
With a total of $196 million going to 488 projects that applied for funds in Round 11 of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, the awards were given across a variety of New York state agencies.
In Adirondack Park communities, around three dozen projects were funded, going toward parks and trails, engineering studies of sewer needs, community planning, infrastructure projects such as culvert replacements, and other construction projects.
Amy Catania, executive director of Historic Saranac Lake, said Wednesday the $500,000 her nonprofit received will help renovate the Trudeau Building. While the museum currently operates in the Saranac Laboratory Museum, a facility built in 1894 by Dr. Edward Trudeau, the museum purchased Trudeau’s neighboring home and medical office when it went up for sale recently.
The museum has raised around $3.7 million to convert the home into its main museum space, providing additional space for exhibitions and programming. Catania hopes to go out for bid on construction in 2022, eyeing a potential fall 2023 opening to the public.
“We were counting on the community really getting behind it and understanding not just the historical importance of the building but the importance to the community of an expanded museum space,” Catania said.
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The Adirondack Mountain Club scored $500,000 to help its purchase of the Cascade Ski Center on Route 73 near Lake Placid. ADK Executive Director Michael Barrett has said the club agreed to purchase the 200-acre property and lodge for around $2.5 million and that he expects the sale to close by the end of the month.
The Wild Center, a natural history museum in Tupper Lake, will receive over $650,000 to support a two-year plan to recover from pandemic-related losses, while also building on program changes implemented in response to the pandemic.
The plan includes continuing new outdoor activities, like a nighttime display of lights; creating an exhibition focused on climate change solutions; focusing recruitment efforts on a more diverse group of potential visitors; expanding the center’s network of trails and boardwalks; and improving a new appointment system put in place under COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s a huge relief to us… it’s very much focused on recovery from COVID,” Wild Center Deputy Director Hillarie Logan-Dechene said Wednesday. “We just want to keep doing the Wild Center thing in a really good way, and this is going to help.”
Tupper Lake itself has received a boost of state funding in this round. The village was granted $337,492 to improve its downtown waterfront park on the Raquette River by installing new floating docks and upgrading a 1930s-era grandstand. The Oval Wood Dish redevelopment project received $2.5 million to help convert the former manufacturing facility for commercial and residential use. That’s in addition to the $10 million Gov. Kathy Hochul recently for Tupper Lake, as a recipient of Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding.
Adirondack towns also received a bevy of planning grants from the state. The grants will support engineering studies to identify upgrades to sewer and wastewater systems, as well as comprehensive plans aimed at outlining a long-term development vision for towns like Johnsburg, Schroon, Black Brook, Forestport and St. Armand.
Some of the other Adirondack projects funded by the state grants:
- Town of Bolton: $975,000 to improve the town’s Veterans Memorial Park with expanded pedestrian access, new docks, a restroom facility, pavilion, playground and waterfront picnic area.
- Town of Johnsburg: $35,450 to reroute an existing trail from North Creek to Ski Bowl Park, which is used year-round by skiers, snowshoers, mountain bikers and hikers
- Warren County: $46,000, with a $20,000 local match, for a housing needs analysis.
- Warren County: $251,838 to implement a comprehensive aquatic invasive species prevention and control program in the Schroon Lake basin. Coordinating among local communities and state agencies, the program will aim to establish mobile decontamination stations and improve data sharing
- Town of Johnsburg: $1.6 million to construct a new wastewater collection and treatment system in the North Creek business district, which has been hurt economically by the lack of a central sewer system.
- Town of Minerva: $1 million to replace a water line in the area of Town Shed Road and Moxham Pond, ensuring regulatory compliance for a system that serves 45 residents.
- Town of Ticonderoga: $279,750 to construct one-quarter-mile segment of the LaChute River Walk Interpretive Trail, expanding access with an ADA-compliant trail.
- Town of Willsboro: $75,000 to develop an engineering plan to stabilize banks of Lake Champlain at Noblewood Park.
- Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center: $150,000 to renovate and construct a new facility.
- The Town of Webb: $250,000 to construct 7 miles of new mountain biking trails at McCauley Mountain Recreation Center in Old Forge.
- Clarkson University: $1.25 million for its North Country Innovation Hot Spot, which assists small businesses across the region.