SCHROON LAKE - More hotel rooms may hold the key to future economic growth in the town of Schroon.
That's the assessment of the Schroon Quality Destination Plan, which has been formed by a group of local volunteers and a professional consultant. It looks at ways to boost local business through tourism.
Assisting with the plan was Egret Communications, a consulting firm hired through the Essex County/Lake Placid VIsitors Bureau with grant money.
Schroon was one of five Essex County communities to receive funding to develop a destination plan. The others are Ticonderoga, Moriah, Wilmington and North Elba, which includes the village of Lake Placid.
"Recapture the magic of Schroon Lake" is the vision of the plan, while increasing jobs and businesses is the goal - all while maintaining the small town atmosphere.
The Schroon tourism committee, along with Egret Communications representative Bob Harvey, unveiled the master plan during a meeting on Nov. 11 in the town hall.
Schroon is one of the selected towns based on an assessment that looked at the long history of tourism, recent progress the town has made in regards to its business downtown, and events the town hosts in the summer season.
The assessment also looked at the need for more year round tourist activity, the need for current and competitive lodging, and addresses the curb appeal of downtown.
The primary action identified is the creation of 100 units - rooms - of competitive lodging within Schroon by 2012.
The tourist committee stated there are 94 existing units in Schroon Lake, with about a third needing extensive upgrades.
More rooms in town, according to the report, would mean more business for restaurants and retail stores, thus creating more jobs and revenue.
Other actions mentioned in the plan are to continue with music and art events, expand equipment rentals for out door activities, boost curb appeal along Route 9,and increase year round experiences.
Some expressed concerns about changing the community's character.
"We don't want July 4th every day." Mark Whitney, a committee member, said.
Harvey said the plan is designed to attract a moderate number of people who spend more while staying in Schroon Lake.
Concerns verbalized by residents who attended where the increase in traffic and the building of a chain-style hotel to satisfy the need for lodging.
The tourist committee members informed the group a formal traffic study had not been done. The history of the town indicates a capability to accommodate a traffic increase.
The concern of a chain hotel moving into Schroon Lake was addressed with a reference to incorporating architectural standards. The standards would help to maintain the character and strengthen the appeal of Schroon Lake.
To fully activate the plan the tourist committee emphasized the need for the residents of Schroon Lake to become involved.
The entire master plan, updates and progress can be viewed at www.essextourismplan.com.