The “Holiday Lights Spectacle” installation proposed for downtown may now be a little less spectacular, due to decisions reached last week by the Lake George Village Board.
Village officials are now seeking out additional proposals for the design, installation and operation of a holiday lighting display that was until recently envisioned as lavish, extensive lighting displays — synchronized to music — in Shepard Park and on downtown buildings.
A conceptual proposal for the lighting installation drafted by Adirondack Studios cited that such a display could cost as much as $750,000. The hefty price tag prompted board members to ask village trustee Ray Perry to obtain concepts from other sources.
Perry said he’d already contacted Idea Partners principal John Sahler and Drew Hickman of Holiday Technologies, a specialist in animated light shows from Kansas.
Luisa Craige-Sherman and Patty Kirkpatrick of the Lake George Business partnership said that the $5,000 the town and village have jointly earmarked for designing the light show would be better spent on upgrading existing lighting and repairing existing infrastructure, including public bathrooms, park benches, curbs and signage.
“We have to make sure that what we have now is as it should be,” Craige-Sherman said.
Kirkpatrick said that coordinating a synchronized display of lighted trees on the west side of Canada Street during the off-season would be difficult, as the lights draw electricity from the individual businesses, which might be closed down for the season. Perry replied that the lighted trees would then clearly indicate the businesses that were open.
Village Mayor Robert Blais said the light show, synchronized to music, could be centered in Shepard Park, with a display including lighting installations on top of the village sewer pumping station next to the beach.
“It would provide a great pedestrian show,” he said.
Perry said that an extensive animated lighting show would draw thousands of tourists to Lake George, boosting the economy in the winter months.
He said that the cost of the installation, perhaps $250,000 or so, could be paid from occupancy tax funds.
“A lighting display would certainly put more heads in beds,” he said.
In other business:
• Blais commended Town Clerk Darlene Gunther for 25 years of service to the village, and presented her with a certificate of recognition from the New York Council of Mayors.
• Blais announced that the work to complete upgrading the streetscape along the west side of Canada St. has been delayed until mid-October. Finishing up the work was postponed so enterprises along Canada St. wouldn’t have their foot traffic curtailed, Blais said.
• Also, the Trustees moved ahead on plans of upgrading the streetscape of the east side of Canada St. in front of Shepard Park. They voted to hire Saratoga Associates to draw up plans for upgrades. Blais said the work would be accomplished by village employees, saving about $200,000 from a prior plan to hire a contractor to do the work.
• Blais described the efforts under way to persuade local businesses retailing knives that are legal to sell but illegal to possess. He cited a 16-year-old who was recently arrested by Delmar police for illegal possession of a weapon, and the misdemeanor is jeopardizing his plans for a legal career, Blais said. The boy had won the knife in Leonelli’s arcade in Lake George. The arcade owner, Charles Leonelli, has since removed the knives from his inventory, and paid for the boy’s legal fees, Blais said. Two of several other merchants carrying similar knives have been contacted and have agreed to remove them from sale, Blais said.
• Tim Shudt was named new Chief Sewer Plant Operator for the village, replacing Reggie Burlingame who is ready to retire but is continuing temporarily as a consultant to train Shudt.
• The board approved contracting with Computel Consultants of Earlville, NY to audit utility and cable bills back to 1995 to uncover any overpayment. The village would pay 45 percent of any amount recovered to Computel as payment for their investigation. The full amount of future savings due to reduced charges, however, would be reaped by the village, Blais said.
• Trustees commended village employee Howard Greenholz for finding a tourist’s cell phone and taking action to return it to him.