A replica 1756 sawmill, that Ticonderoga officials hope will be the centerpiece of tourism effort, is a step closer to reality. The town has received a $44,760 grant to fund the research and design of the project. Archeological studies for the project were completed earlier.
A replica 1756 sawmill, that Ticonderoga officials hope will be the centerpiece of tourism effort, is a step closer to reality.
The town has received a $44,760 grant to fund the research and design of the project, which was initially proposed by then-Supervisor Bob Dedrick in 2009.
“This is great news, we’ve been working towards this for quite a few years and it’s finally coming to life,” said now Supervisor Deb Malaney. “Receiving this planning grant award means the project has been recognized as having regional importance and positions us for implementation grants in the future.”
A French sawmill sat on the north side of the LaChute River near the falls in 1758.
“The vision of recreating the sawmill appears in the Lane/Frenchman conceptual drawings of the (19)80s and resurfaced in 2009 through the work of Egret Communications and the Ticonderoga Quality Destination group formed by the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism,” said Sharon Reynolds of PRIDE. “Upon the town’s approval of the Ticonderoga Destination Master Plan created by TQD that included the sawmill project, the reconstruction of the 18th Century French sawmill took on new life with broad support from the town, PRIDE of Ticonderoga, chamber of commerce, Ti Alliance and other community agencies.”
PRIDE has coordinated the archeological studies needed to move the project forward. The studies were funded by the town’s restricted LaChute Hydro funds designated for projects associated with the LaChute River Corridor, Glens Falls National Bank and from two donors.
“The replica of an historic 18th century working sawmill will be an educational experience, will attract visitors and produce specialty wood products for sale,” Malaney said.
Reynolds said Ticonderoga plans to use the sawmill to leverage other activities through the Timber Framers Guild and both traditional and contemporary artists. The Timber Framers Guild is a national non-profit organization dedicated to establishing training programs for timber framers.
“The project will enhance the telling of the story of Ticonderoga’s industrial history along the LaChute River, its historic downtown and the connection with Fort Ticonderoga,” Reynolds said. “The fort’s over 70,000 visitors will be drawn to this downtown destination and will generate more demand for lodging, dining and retail, resulting in increased revenues for existing businesses.”
The sawmill is expected to generate 10 new jobs and will foster new tourism-related investment, she said.
The next steps include the completion of the research and design work along with seeking permit approvals
“We are very appreciative of this support and want to thank Essex County, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and consultant Melissa McManus among others,” said Reynolds. “We welcome anyone to come into the PRIDE office to view a rendering of the proposed sawmill.”