SARANAC - The town of Saranac has long been known to locals as the "Gateway to the Northern Adirondacks." Now, through the power of the Internet, local officials are hoping to broadcast the message of Saranac's small-town charm and beauty for all to see.
The town, with the assistance of television production students from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, recently finished producing four short narrated videos to promote the town through the popular on-line video Web site YouTube, and the town's Web site, www.townofsaranac.com.
According to Town Councilman Gerald W. Delaney, the videos took approximately four months to produce, funded by Local Waterfront Revitalization Program funding the town received from the Department of State's Division of Coastal Resources last year. Delaney, who spearheaded the initiative on behalf of the town council, said the videos focus on four features of the town - History, Recreation, Community and Opportunity.
"When you drive up Route 3 going through Saranac, you don't fully understand what's here," said Delaney. "We've got some awesome views in this town and there's just so much history here. The intent was to show people what a great community this is to live in and to visit."
The first video in the series, titled "History," gives an overview of how the town was first settled in 1802, including how five settlers were hand-picked to assist in the capture of John Wilkes Booth, the infamous assassinator of President Abraham Lincoln.
"You wouldn't think that would be a little-known fact, but it is," said Delaney.
"Recreation" focuses on the many recreational opportunities the town has to offer, from boating on the Saranac River to climbing Lyon Mountain and exploring the Sable Highlands. The annual Saranac Flatwater Challenge held in the summer and the winter cross-country skiing opportunities hosted by the New Land Trust are among the attractions for the town featured in the video.
The many elements which make up the close-knit community of Saranac are touted in "Community." The programs and activities offered for residents and visitors to the town are highlighted, along with family-oriented organizations found in Saranac, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America and 4-H. Hill and Hollow Music, a local nonprofit organization which promotes the enjoyment of chamber music, is also featured, as well as the Saranac Central School District, for the academic, athletic and artistic opportunities it offers its students.
"Opportunity," the final video in the four-part series, showcases the businesses which have thrived in the community for many years and the opportunities for future development given the infrastructure created to date.
"The idea was if you're coming to this area for the first time, especially if you're thinking of moving here, you should give Saranac a closer look because it's rural, but it's not remote," said Delaney, playing off a similar quote in one of the videos.
"It took a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of planning," Delaney continued, discussing the video production process. "But, overall, I'd say the video came out pretty much as I'd envisioned it. I think it's a fair representation of the town."
Town Supervisor Joe Gerardi agreed, saying the video has achieved its goal of providing information to attract people to the town and to bolster the pride townspeople have in their community.
"This is great for people who might be looking for a place to live and it's great to remind people within our town who might have taken what we have for granted about how much we have to offer," said Gerardi.
"Saranac offers beautiful Adirondack scenery and quality of life, and it's only a short drive to shopping and lots of employment opportunities in Plattsburgh," said community development director Melissa M. McManus. "Like the video says, it is rural but it's not remote."