SARANAC - The town of Saranac could soon be getting a makeover for one of its waterfront properties.
The town council has received word it has been awarded a $62,000 grant from the Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The grant, said Councilman Gerald W. Delaney, will allow for the town to begin implementation of its waterfront revitalization strategy, which was funded by a 2007 Environmental Protection Fund grant. The plan - developed by a project advisory committee consisting of town residents, landowners and other individuals and organizations - calls for improving access to the Saranac River and other enhancements to Picketts Corners Recreation Park.
"I was really happy that it came through," said Delaney, who made the motion for the council to apply for the grant last September."[The plan] will give the public better access to the river in the form of a day-use area."
The advisory committee's improvements to the 16-acre park include clearing a shaded picnic area and grading the area along the river, which is currently "difficult to walk due to an uneven surface and field grass vegetation." The committee's plan also calls for a walkway to be constructed from the site's parking lot to the flat area along the river, which is most prominently used in the summer for the Saranac Flatwater Challenge, an annual canoeing and kayaking event which benefits the North Country's Race to Fight Asthma.
The installation of a floating wooden dock, which could be removed for seasonal flooding, is also envisioned, the plan states.
"We're looking at whatever improvements we can that will benefit the challenge," said Delaney, who added constructing a pavilion could also be among enhancements to the park.
Other improvements proposed include installing flood-resistant stone seating and picnic tables, developing a fishing access area, modernizing the appearance of the recreation park buildings, and performing upgrades to the town pool area.
"We want this to be a place for our townspeople to be able to go down, sit beside the river, have a picnic or just sit there and utilize a gem of a piece of property that's been underutilized for years," said Delaney.
The town council will now examine its next steps, said Delaney, which include meeting with the Adirondack Park Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation because of the property being located within the Adirondack Park and its proximity to the Saranac River.
"We're going to make sure we have plans the APA and DEC are comfortable with," said Delaney, who added the agencies were already aware the town applied for the grant.
Once the town has gone through all the proper channels, Delaney said the project should take a minimal amount of time to complete and could begin as early as this summer. "What we're doing isn't huge, but it's still a fairly good size mechanical undertaking," said Delaney. "But, it's not out of the question that it'd only take us a month to six weeks to get it done."