SARANAC LAKE — The village is in for a busy construction season this year as several public Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects funded through a $10 million award the village received from the state in 2018 are kicking off or nearing completion through the spring, summer and fall.
Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski said the village eliminated many of the barriers to construction that held up work last summer — getting easements, relocating utility poles and obtaining permits from the state Department of Transportation.
“More of the projects can move forward this year,” she said.
These projects include William Morris Park, Ward Plumadore Park and Berkeley Green; streetscape work on the east side of Woodruff Street and tree planting on Main Street and Broadway; and an intersection redesign where those two streets meet.
“I’m looking forward to their completion,” village Manager Erik Stender said on Friday. “Exciting for downtown. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.”
He said there’s been “a lot of hiccups along the way,” but they’re now ready to go “full swing.”
Konkoski said there are still plenty of potential hurdles — a main one being the delay of building material deliveries, residue from the supply chain issues the world has faced in the past three years.
“I cannot stress enough how that is all tentative,” Konkoski said of the projects’ estimated completion dates, adding that she is also optimistic about the work schedules.
“It’s exciting and a little bit daunting at the same time, mainly because construction season coincides with our busiest season in Saranac Lake,” Konkoski said. “It will be a bit of an inconvenience at times, but I’m really looking forward to the final product.”
Stender said the building season is at the same time as tourist season, and they’ll just have to share the time.
When Saranac Lake received its DRI grant in 2018, the village got $4.3 million to spend on public projects — streetscape enhancements, increased connectivity between downtown destinations and a series of park upgrades.
Village staff will send out bi-weekly email updates on those projects to anyone who signs up for them after their bi-weekly meetings with contractors. To get on this digital update list, email village Administrative Assistant Cassandra Hopkins at email@example.com. Konkoski said Hopkins distributed fliers to downtown businesses this week to give them this information.
Updates regarding progress, schedule changes and impacts on traffic and businesses will also be posted on village social media platforms as well as on its DRI project page at saranaclakeny.gov/dri.
Questions about the projects should be directed to Stender or Konkoski at 518-891-4150.
The work on William Morris Park — the location of the Adirondack Carousel — resumed this week, picking up where it left off last fall as crews reinstall a brick paver walkway with donors’ names etched into the bricks leading to the carousel. There will also be some landscaping and crews will install a new fence around the park.
This work is expected to be finished by the end of June.
Construction of an upper viewing area and lower accessible seating area at the off-Broadway Ward Plumadore Park is slated to begin on Monday and go until late October. Stender said this project was a main one waiting on the DOT permit.
The work will include tiered landscaping between the viewing areas. While the municipal parking lot at the mural wall to the right will not be impacted, the parking lot to the left, next to the Bitters and Bones bar, restaurant and brewery will be eliminated.
Bitters and Bones was one of the private projects selected by the state for DRI money and its co-owners — including brothers Saranac Lake Mayor Jimmy Williams and Harrietstown Councilman Johnny Williams — will receive a reimbursement of $381,500 from the state for the brewery and rooftop bar expansion. The total cost of this project was estimated at $740,000 two years ago.
The final touches on public restrooms in the Pontiac parking lot next to Berkeley Green on the corner of Broadway and Main Street will resume on Monday, and they are tentatively estimated to be open for use by July 28.
“A few parking spaces in the Pontiac Lot will be dedicated to construction work, but overall, the Pontiac Lot will remain open throughout construction,” according to a village press release.
The east section of the Woodruff Street renovations is expected to begin on May 22 and last through early September. The Woodruff Street project was split into two sections. East — from Broadway to Church Street — will be funded through the DRI, Stender said. The DRI funded designs for west — from Church Street to Bloomingdale Avenue — but the village is seeking funding outside the DRI for construction of that portion.
The east-side construction will include creation and replacement of sidewalks, landscaping and on-street parking spaces along the southern side of the street.
“Traffic may be impacted and any lane, sidewalk, or street closures will be announced ahead of time,” according to a village press release.
The village will be planting 18 trees along Main Street and Broadway through the “Urban Forestry” project from Monday through July 14.
After a tense meeting with downtown business owners last summer over the locations of many of these sidewalk trees, the village chose to relocate the sites of several with input from those store owners. Stender said on Friday he believes they are all happy with the new locations. The pink spray paint boxes on the sidewalk are the final locations for the trees.
This final segment also involves the reconfiguration of the Main Street and Broadway intersection — turning it from a “Y” intersection into a “T” intersection — which is expected to start on June 7 and be completed by July 14.
Stender said this project will likely be the most disruptive, since it is in the heart of downtown.
All new tree plantings with tree frames, grates, and pits will be constructed. The project will start with concrete work and frame installation. Once that is done, each tree pit will have a temporary barricade around it until the trees are planted.
“There will be sidewalk and parking lane closures when each segment is being done, but the entire corridor will not be closed at the same time,” according to a village press release. “Two-way traffic will be maintained most of the time except for when concrete trucks are making a delivery.”
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