© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Village of Lake George Mayor Perry discusses environmental protections, DRI projects, and village's future

Village of Lake George Mayor Ray Perry took office in 2023
Village of Lake George
Village of Lake George Mayor Ray Perry took office in 2023

Between this weekend’s annual motorcycle bonanza Americade and a warm start to the recreational season, it’s a busy time for the village of Lake George — which is undergoing its annual summertime population boom. Overseeing it all is the village’s first new mayor in more than half a century.

Mayor Ray Perry ran unopposed last year after serving on the village’s board of trustees since 2007.

He replaced Bob Blais, mayor for 52 years. Perry says he takes pride in grabbing the baton and has prioritized beautification and supporting green spaces within the village.

“One thing is I want all fresh code on all the buildings, and we’re achieving that. We’re getting there. There was a fence that was around Shepard Park Beach, which everyone hated. It was a COVID era thing. I think when it was established. The former administration thought we were going to be dealing with this type of thing for the foreseeable future and what COVID is over. So, the most common question I got when I was going around petitioning for my election was, ‘can you do something about that fence?’ Or, ‘can you take that expletive fence down?’ And I looked into it, and I could, and I did. And it’s a big difference down there. And there is no—I’m not being pejorative, ‘hey I got it down,’ it’s not that. It’s so much better without it.”

Last year, the Town and Village of Lake George were awarded a joint $10 million as part of the Capital Region’s seventh round of state Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds.

Perry says the funds have gone toward many projects, including an art installation of hand-painted canoes that will highlight the talent of local artists.

“We’re working on a housing project for J-1 and H-2B workers that come here, that's generally every year that's a constant problem. I've been on the student connection committee since its formation 10 years ago. So that's an issue. We had a couple of projects fall through. I mean, we're still constantly looking for a way to you know, house these people safely, these kids basically. And we have our own housing crisis as it is, as the country does. So, we're always looking into that for solutions.”

A section of the local Shepard Park Beach has been closed to swimmers due to a steep increase in depth. Perry is exploring a number of ways to use the space.

“For years that hasn't been swam at, but I thought we could do better and collect stormwater there and treat it before it gets into the lake. And then we talked about a fishing pier. So, it'd be a, that portion of beach, there’s still 130 something plus feet of beach that would be, I point that way because I’m used to looking at a drawing. So, we thought of an ADA compliant lake walk where you could have the water on both sides of you. You know, access to the lake is always a comment or discussion that if you don't have the money for a boat, or if you don't have the money for lakefront property, you struggled to get on the water or at the water. So, this lake walk would allow people to just feel the breeze in the air and water on both sides of you—feel like you’re really a part of the lake and part of where you are.”

Recent concerns over the proposed use of ProcellaCOR, an herbicide that targets invasive Eurasian watermilfoil, have led environmental advocates and the Lake George Association to demonstrate against its use by the Lake George Park Commission.

Perry is remaining neutral on the issue, but says he is committed to protecting the lake’s health. Local municipalities are using alternatives to road salt during the winter and will continue boat inspections to prevent the spread of invasive species.

“Well last fall we sponsored a cleanup weekend with the LGA in partnership with them. The turnout was bigger than we expected. So, I mean, just to clean up our little basin area—people would pull safety cones, sometimes a random park bench would be pulled up that was there for years we didn't even know about. It's nice to see that type of community involvement and people caring about you know, the place they live. So, that's one of the initiatives and I hope it continues I'd like to do it twice a year but we'll see how it goes, but definitely once a year we’re going to do that community event.”

In recent years, COVID concerns and poor weather weakened the annual summer tourism boom. This year, Perry says all signs point toward a successful season.

“People are, you know not everybody tells you the truth, but people are saying, ‘I am about 20% up pre COVID numbers.’ So, this is shaping up to be a really good summer on the onset of it. Being that last year, we were, I believe, in an El Niño and this a La Niña. One of the two, I'm not a weather expert. I know they have an effect—it's wetter. Last summer, it just rained. Goodness, you know, people had come up to me and said, ‘Mayor, it's not your fault. You can't control the weather.’ And I know I can't, but I wish I could. But this year, I mean, I'm hoping that we have better weather because that's really the only thing that holds us back. And that's one thing that we can't control. We can have events, we can plan for it. But if it rains, it rains.”

The village is also looking for state and federal funds to help pay for upgrades to its new wastewater treatment plant to process septage. Perry says the upgrades are drawn up and almost-shovel ready.

Related Content