Saranac Lake Board of Trustees
The village of Saranac Lake will be getting a signage plan that will help visitors navigate around the community.
Village Board members called it a “wayfinding plan” Monday, May 14, when they approved $20,250 to hire Alta Planning & Design to complete the project. They will use Urban Development Action Grant money set aside for business promotion and 90-Miler Blueway grant funds to pay for it.
“The village has need for consistent wayfinding and business promotion signage that enhances the visitor experience, makes it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to follow trails and walking loops and promotes businesses and downtown in a manner that positively brands the community,” states the village resolution.
But not all trustees were in favor of hiring an outside firm. The resolution passed 3-1, with Tom Catillaz, Barbara Rice and Paul Van Cott voting in favor and Elias “Allie” Pelletieri voting against.
“This seems like a lot of money to spend on something that I thought we could do ourselves,” Pelletieri said. “The $20,000 should be used to build the signs, actually put them there. I just don’t think we need to spend $20,000 for the planning of this.”
Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said he doesn’t think a comprehensive, detailed plan like Alta Planning & Design will draft is something the village can do in-house.
“Each individual sign needs actual specific design, both of the contents and also the specifications of the sign itself: the size, what kind of materials are used, working with sign manufacturers to get exact costs; and you do that for each type of sign,” Evans said.
In the end, the village will be handed a specifications manual for every type of sign so when the money becomes available to build the signs, those specs can be handed to the manufacturer.
“I think it’s a really important part of branding ourselves and ‘selling’ the assets we have,” Evans said, adding that one of the places he would like to add signage is the train station.
“That’s the most glaring omission we have right now,” Evans said of the train station. “So imagine a big sign that has a map, businesses and other attractions listed on it, and then all of the subsequent signage that directs people from the train station to the different attractions.”
The village would still need to raise money to manufacture the signs, and those costs could be defrayed by an adopt-a-sign program, according to Evans.
Van Cott and Rice both voiced their approval for the wayfinding plan and said it was worth the investment.
“If we don’t do that, we’re losing,” Rice said. “I think an integrated conceptual plan that brings us all together with signage and branding is absolutely imperative. We’re going to have to tackle it.”
Saranac Lake Village Board members May 14 created a Finance Committee, comprised of the village manager (John Sweeney), village treasurer (Paul Allis) and two trustees (Tom Catillaz and Paul Van Cott).
The committee will oversee the finances of the village by monitoring current budget conditions, ascertaining emerging trends throughout the fiscal year, and researching and developing suggested structural changes that will enable the village to adhere to the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap. The committee will periodically report its findings to the Village Board.
The committee will be charged with addressing the following tasks:
•develop a request for proposals for the village’s current health care system;
•research a request for proposals for alternate health care insurances in consultation and partnership with labor;
•develop a request for proposals for the village’s current liability, life insurance and other insurance programs;
•develop and implement a request for proposals for the village’s current employee benefit program;
•and any other program or function deemed prudent by the committee.
In other business May 14, Village Board members approved an agreement to lease village property adjacent to the capped landfill off the McKenzie Pond Road to the Common Ground Garden and Adirondack Sustainable Communities, Inc. There will be no rent for this community garden, which was provided to give residents the opportunity to grow their own produce. Garden space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
Village Board members also approved an additional $112,000 for upgrades and renovations for the Waterworks Building at 17 Main St. The extra money was needed because of higher-than expected costs, specifically for I-beam support of the building, a structural need that was discovered when the walls were removed. A total of $363,000 had already been approved: $263,000 in the 2011-12 budget and $100,000 in the 2012-13 budget. The additional costs can be covered by not completing other budgeted items: $30,000 for a ladder on the existing water tank and $82,000 in street paving.
The Village Board set a public hearing for the sewer rates for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, and it will be followed by a regular meeting of the board.