Governor visits Lake Placid to showcase porous pavement, water line upgrades
By Gwendolyn Craig
Downtown Lake Placid has been a construction zone this summer, but state and local officials emphasized on Friday that the environmental and economic benefits will be worth it.
Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the home of the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics to witness progress of a $15.6 million project to protect the water quality of the village’s Mirror Lake. The work is part of the reason for the heavy equipment and torn up roadways. “When I make great announcements,” Hochul said, “it all ties into the larger narrative of what we can do in government.”
Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, added “we need to do all we can to support local government. That’s really what today is all about.”
The two state leaders have travelled all over New York this week, making environmental announcements during “climate week.” Earlier in the day, Hochul also stopped in Bolton to speak at the Business Council’s annual meeting.
Part of the Lake Placid project includes permeable pavement sidewalks and parking lots, that is pavement that allows for water to steep down into the ground. In the ground the water can leave behind any excess nutrients before making its way to Mirror Lake.
Hochul took a bucket of water and poured it on the parking lot surface. Rather than trickling down over Main Street, the water disappeared into the parking lot pavement.
“It’s quite a magic trick,” Seggos said.
Additionally the state is providing funding for repairing and replacing about 2,000 feet of sewer and water lines under State Route 86 and in the area of Main Street and Mirror Lake. The project “will prevent potential sewage overflows and reduce adverse water quality and public health impacts to Mirror Lake,” according to a news release. Work is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.
Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin said some of the water lines were over a century old. While it was a tough time for Main Street businesses with the coronavirus pandemic plus the construction, Devlin said the project had to be done to prevent pollution of the lake.
“We didn’t know how bad it was until we started digging up and getting in there,” Devlin said, with Hochul and Seggos standing near his side.
All three government officials also made mention of upgrades happening in the village before the 2023 World University Games. Devlin thanked the state for its investments in that infrastructure as well. He added that Olympic athletes were leaving Lake Placid because the village’s venues and equipment no longer complied with the latest standards.
The water infrastructure upgrades are paid for through several state grants including:
- About $6.3 million from the Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Green Innovation grant;
- About $6.2 million from the Environmental Facilities Corporation’s low-cost financing; and
- About $2.97 million from a state Department of Transportation grant.
Hochul also took time to praise the natural beauty of the North Country and referenced the wildfires devastating regions of California in noting the impact of climate change.
“The earth is heating up too fast,” Hochul said. “It has to stop right now.”