Officials from Lake Placid, New York and the surrounding Town of North Elba held a video conference this week to provide information and answer questions about planned infrastructure improvements to the village’s Main Street.
In August 2014, the Lake Placid Village Board approved a revised comprehensive plan to address changes in land use, infrastructure, services and mobility in the community. The seven areas of development included a plan for major improvements along Main Street. The project includes upgrading sewer lines; stormwater diversion from Main Street away from Mirror Lake; utility upgrades and parking changes.
During the recent information session, Community Development Commission Chair Dean Deitrich noted the project’s long history. “The project roots go way back. The 1996 Comprehensive Plan and the 2014 Comprehensive Plan both called for improvements to the water lines and the infrastructure along Main Street. And they both realized that the economic vitality of Main Street was essential to the economy of not only Lake Placid but the entire area. The 1996 plan in particular found out that the water lines were about 100 years old then and started at looking at ways to finance improvements that we knew were coming down the road. And of course all plans say we have to maintain financial responsibility.”
Most of the work will be subsurface to replace water lines and stormwater systems. The area that will be dug up begins at the Main Street Parking lot near the Post Office and proceeds north through the business district and turns up Sara-Placid Avenue.
Merchants have been concerned about the economic ramifications of construction on the village’s key shopping street during the peak summer tourist season. Dietrich said when bids went out, each contractor was asked to submit two proposals. “What would be the cost if you worked without interruption and worked as many days as you could barring the winter break? The other bid went out saying nope no work during the summer season. So you would just work in the spring and the fall as far into the winter as you could. And the village just awarded the bid that does not include construction during the summer. So that means that the estimated time frame for the project now becomes spring of 2021 and ends in the fall of 2023.”
A number of questions focused on how construction will impact parking. Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism Chief Operating Officer Mary Jane Lawrence posed a question from a virtual participant to Project Engineer Ivan Zdrahal. “As far as the parking during the construction, the rerouting of traffic, you know where residents will park and people that work on Main Street during this construction time, that’s to be determined still, is that correct?”
Zdrahal: “Based on the construction schedule we will establish where each parking areas will be available.”
Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall responded to a question about funding and financing for the project. “The project is fully funded at the present time through the resources of the Environmental Facilities Corporation of New York State. A significant portion of the project is funded by grant sources, which are monies that are provided for the project that are not repaid. And the remainder that is not covered by grant funding, which is about 50% at the present moment at least, is a very long term interest free loan financing through the Environmental Facilities Corporation.”
Main Street is also a state road, Route 86, and the plan must also meet state Department of Transportation requirements. Groundbreaking is expected to occur sometime in the spring of 2021.